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8:39pm UK, Friday March 02, 2012
The Sunday Times photographer who survived the rocket attack that killed war reporter Marie Colvin in besieged Homs has told Sky News the city faces a “massacre beyond measure”.
Wounded Paul Conroy said the city had suffered a “sustained barrage” of shelling and described the bombardment of civilian areas by government troops as a “massacre”.
Marie Colvin was killed in the Homs rocket attack
Mr Conroy, who was rescued after spending days stranded in Homs with shrapnel wounds after Ms Colvin’s death, was speaking from his hospital bed in the UK as news emerged that her body had been released to the Red Cross.
“It’s not a war, it’s a massacre,” he said. “An indiscriminate massacre of men, women and children.”
He said people were “cowering in houses, beyond shell shock” to escape the onslaught.
Residents are without power and water, and have barely any food, he said.
Mr Conroy lay injured for days in Homs
“It’s more than a catastrophe. It’s snowing there now, people can’t light fires… In years to come, we’re going to sit and we’re going to go, ‘How did we let this happen under our nose?”‘
He said urgent action was needed by the international community, and that he feared what would happen in Syria without cameras or journalists there to report.
“(The people of Homs) need help,” he told Sky’s Lisa Holland in his first TV interview since escaping. “They need something to happen… It’s not too late but it needs someone to step up to the mark and do something.”
He paid tribute to his colleague as “one of the bravest people I know”. “Marie died doing something she was completely passionate about. She just wanted to tell the truth.”
The Red Cross confirmed on Friday that their remains had been handed over by the Syrian authorities and were en route to the Syrian capital, Damascus.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokeswoman said: “We have been in touch with The Sunday Times and they are making arrangements for repatriation with the relevant authorities.”
Meanwhile, two journalists who were also caught up in the attack on the makeshift media centre in Homs have arrived in France after being smuggled out of Syria.
Edith Bouvier, 31, who was injured, and William Daniels were trapped for nine days in the war-torn country.