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Syrian Red Crescent handed bodies in Damascus (SANA)
Syrian Red Crescent handed bodies in Damascus (SANA)

Syria hands over bodies of 2 Foreign Journalists

(Dp-news) DAMASCUS- The bodies of Colvin, 56, and Ochlik, 28, arrived in Paris from Damascus early on Sunday after they were killed in a rocket attack in the rebel Baba Amr neighbourhood of the besieged Syrian city Homs on February 22. The bodies had been formally identified in Damascus on Friday by French and Polish diplomats.

The body of US journalist Marie Colvin, killed in Syria along with French photographer Remi Ochlik, is to be repatriated "as soon as possible" after arriving in Paris on Sunday, the US embassy in Paris said.

"I can confirm that her remains are here and will be repatriated to the US as soon as possible," US embassy in Paris spokeswoman Sophie Roy-Sultan told AFP.

Colvin, 56, a veteran correspondent for Britain’s Sunday Times, and Ochlik, 28, a photojournalist, had sneaked into Syria illegally to get an eyewitness view of the government crackdown in the country, where thousands have been killed since a popular uprising began a year ago.



Syrian Red Crescent officials handed over to embassy officials Saturday the bodies of two foreign journalists who were killed in shelling while trapped inside a besieged district in Syria’s central city of Homs.

French Ambassador Eric Chevallier received the body of French photographer Remi Ochlik, and a Polish diplomat received the remains of American Marie Colvin. U.S. interests in Syria are represented by Poland.

Syriastate-run SANA news agency along with Syrian TV reported Sunday that Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) delivered on Saturday the bodies of US journalist, Marie Colvin, and French photographer, Remi Ochlik, to the representatives of the Polish and French embassies in Damascus at al-Assad University Hospital.

The Associated Press also reported “The bodies, in brown coffins placed on stretchers, were transferred outside al-Assad hospital in Damascus and driven away in an ambulance. The journalists’ belongings were placed in black plastic bags.”

But they were trapped inside the besieged Baba Amr district of Homs, a target of heavy Syrian military shelling, and died on Feb. 22. The attack also wounded Edith Bouvier of the daily Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy.

Bouvier and French photographer William Daniels, who was not injured but also had been trapped in Homs, arrived in France on Friday after being smuggled through tunnels and snow from Syria into Lebanon.

French reporter Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro newspaper and British photographer Paul Conroy were wounded in the same attack that killed their colleagues.



On Thursday, videos released by activists in Syria said Colvin and Ochlik were buried in Baba Amr. But the Syrian government said the bodies had been disinterred and the government would repatriate them.

On Friday evening, Red Cross spokesman Bijan Farnoudi said the organization had been given the remains of Ochlik and Colvin and would take them to Damascus.

Later, Polish Ambassador Michal Murkocinski and Chevallier identified their bodies at a Damascus morgue, according to Poland’s Foreign Ministry. Polish diplomats, in consultation with the U.S., are trying to transport Colvin’s body to the U.S. as soon as possible, the ministry said.



Red Crescent director in Syria Abdel-Rahman al-Attar said it was unclear when they will be flown out of the country.

SARC Chairman, Abdul-Rahman al-Attar, said in a statement that SARC team received the bodies of the US journalist and French photographer from the competent authorities in Homs, and after that the bodies were transported to al-Assad University Hospital in Damascus, adding that the two bodies were identified in presence of specialized doctors and representatives of the Polish and French embassies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).



The Syrian regime is facing international condemnation as it continues to block the Red Cross from delivering desperately needed aid to Baba Amro.

The Red Cross is still trying to gain access to a war-ravaged neighborhood in the Syrian city of Homs but it could be days before aid teams are allowed in, a spokesman said Sunday.
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