Britain summons Syrian envoy over journalists’ deaths

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 16:17 EDT
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Times journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik via AFP
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LONDON — Britain summoned the Syrian ambassador on Wednesday to lodge a protest over the deaths of two Western journalists and demand the repatriation of their bodies, the Foreign Office said.

US-born war correspondent Marie Colvin, who worked for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed on Wednesday by shell fire in the rebel Syrian city of Homs.

“On the foreign secretary’s instructions, the Syrian ambassador to London, Sami Khiyami, was summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office this afternoon to see the political director, Geoffrey Adams,” a statement said.

The statement said Adams expressed the “grief we all felt” for the journalists and demanded an end to the “unacceptable violence” in Homs.

“The political director said the Foreign Office expected the Syrian authorities to facilitate immediate arrangements for the repatriation of the journalists’ bodies, and for the medical treatment of the British journalist injured in the same attack,” it said.

Sunday Times photojournalist Paul Conroy was injured in the same attack.

“Sir Geoffrey stressed that the British government was horrified by the continuing unacceptable violence in Homs, which has been under attack for 19 days,” it added.

He demanded the violence against anti-regime protesters stop immediately and the Syrian authorities “start an orderly political transition before a single further death took place,” the statement said.

The two Western journalists were among 26 people killed on Wednesday as Syrian forces pounded the rebel city of Homs, activists said, adding to an overall toll of 7,636 since anti-regime protests erupted last March.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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