Red Cross tries to help injured reporters in Syria


GENEVA (AP) -- The Red Cross said Friday it is trying to reach foreign journalists who were wounded during fighting in the Syrian city of Homs.

French journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels have asked for help leaving the embattled city after Bouvier was wounded in shelling Wednesday that killed American-born veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

The Geneva-based aid group "is attempting to reach all persons affected by the ongoing violence including the wounded journalists in Homs," International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman Hicham Hassan said.

The Red Cross has appealed to Syria's government and opposition groups to allow daily two-hour cease-fires so it can deliver relief supplies and evacuate the wounded and sick.

Colvin and Ochlik were among a group of journalists who had crossed into Syria illegally and were sharing accommodations with activists, raising speculation that government forces targeted the makeshift media center where they were staying. But opposition groups had previously described the shelling as indiscriminate.

A Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman has offered condolences to the families of Colvin and Ochlik, but rejected any responsibility for their deaths. The spokesman urged foreign journalists to respect Syrian laws and not to sneak into the country.

In Turkey on Friday, dozens of journalists denounced the killing of Colvin and Ochlik, with reporters and photographers from several media organizations staging a protest outside Syria's embassy in Ankara. They carried banners that read: "Don't kill journalists," and "Don't kill the truth."

The U.N. estimates that 5,400 people have been killed in repression by the Assad regime against a popular uprising that began 11 months ago. That figure was given in January and has not been updated. Syrian activists put the death toll at more than 7,300. Overall figures cannot be independently confirmed because of Syria's tight control on the media.

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