DAMASCUS- The Syrian Foreign Ministry offered its condolences to the media agencies and the families of the dead journalists, while denying Syria was responsible for the deaths of two journalists "who infiltrated its territory on their own," according to a banner on Syrian state TV.
In another banner, it said journalists must respect Syria's press laws and journalists must avoid breaking laws and entering the country illegally to "reach unstable and unsafe places."
In turn, Syria’s state-run news agency (SANA) reported Thursdya “Syria’s Foreign and Expatriates Ministry stressed Thursday the necessity for foreign journalists to respect laws that regulating journalism and journalists work in Syria and to avoid breaching laws and do not enter Syrian territories illegally in order to get access into turbulent and unsafe areas.”
The Ministry's spokesman said in a statement published Thursday that respect of journalism and journalists work-regulations’ laws in Syria will allow the visiting journalists to get benefits of facilitations and other Information Ministry's care and advice devices about the situation on the ground before heading to any place.
"The Information Ministry is making significant efforts and has granted entry permits for about 200 media delegations over the past two months," the statement said.
The statement added "These permits are authenticated for those who have doubts about allowing journalists to enter Syria."
"On the human level, we offer condolences to the media institutions and the families of the journalists who died on the Syrian territories," said the Foreign Ministry spokesman, rejecting, however, "all statements that hold Syria accountable for the death of journalists who infiltrated Syria at their own risk without the Syrian authorities' knowledge of their entry and whereabouts."
Press reports said Wednesday “A French photojournalist and a prominent American war correspondent working for a British newspaper were killed Wednesday by Syrian shelling of the opposition stronghold Homs as Syria's regime escalated its attacks on rebel bases by strafing from helicopter gunships.”
Also on Wednesday, Syria's Ministry of Information has said it has no knowledge of the journalists attacked; saying officials in Homs province were looking into the reports, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The two journalists' deaths come less than a week after New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, died in Syria apparently of an asthma attack.
Earlier on Jan. 11, 2012; the French television Gilles Jacquier reporter had the Syrian government’s permission to be in the country. However, he was also killed while covering a pro-government rally by rocket fire.
Media outlets often cannot independently verify opposition or government reports because the Syrian regime has severely limited access to the country by foreign journalists.
Syria’s regime has blocked access to trouble spots and prevented independent reporting, making it nearly impossible to verify accounts from either side as the conflict spirals out of control and turns increasingly violent, as press reports have been keep mentioning along their reports regarding Syria incidents.