Syria: French journalist Edith Bouvier pleads for evacuation from Homs

France calls for humanitarian corridor to Homs after video plea from journalist injured in shelling that killed Marie Colvin

Edith Bouvier, the French journalist badly injured in the explosion that killed the Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, has issued a moving video plea for help in getting from the besieged city of Homs across the border to Lebanon.

Bouvier, a journalist with le Figaro, requested a ceasefire saying she needed urgent evacuation by ambulance because of the risk of suffering further blood loss from wounds sustained in the explosion that killed Colvin and a colleague.

Her appeal came as efforts to repatriate the bodies of the two dead journalists and their injured colleagues, including the photographer Paul Conroy, appeared to have stalled amid continued shelling.

Pictured lying in bed under a blanket, Bouvier gives her name and the date 23 February explaining that she was with "the group of journalists wounded in the attack in which Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik" were killed.

"I have a broken leg. The femur is broken along its length and laterally too. I need to undergo surgery as soon as possible. The doctors here have treated us as well as they could but they can't perform surgery. So I need a ceasefire and an ambulance or car in good enough shape to get us out," she says.

In a separate video, Conroy said he was being treated for three major leg wounds by opposition medics.

"I am currently being looked after by the Free Syrian Army medical staff who are treating me with the best medical treatment available. It's important to add that I am here as a guest and not captured.

"Obviously any assistance that can be given by government agencies would be welcome," says Conroy.

The appeal for help comes amid growing international pressure for a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors into the areas most badly affected by the conflict in Syria, including Baba Amr, the district of Homs in which Bouvier was injured, which has been under constant bombardment for 20 days, leading to hundreds of casualties.

A local doctor appearing in Bouvier's video describes the problems she and other injured civilians trapped in the area face. "Edith needs medical care we don't have. [And] mostly we are afraid of clotting which may cause her body to shock. She should be out of here immediately to have suitable medical care."

Bouvier's exhausted-looking photographer colleague William Daniels then explains he was "lucky" not to sustain any injuries in the explosion.

According to activists with the global advocacy network Avaaz, who spoke to the Guardian and other news outlets, 31-year-old Bouvier was being treated at a poorly equipped field hospital.

"There is a high risk she will bleed to death without urgent medical attention," said a member of Avaaz. "We are desperately trying to get her out, doing all we can in extremely perilous circumstances."

Activists said there were many other wounded Syrians in similarly dire conditions. The video of the journalists shows one unidentified woman sitting near Bouvier covered in blood.

"There are many civilians in a similar state. This is just a basic field hospital and we just don't have the tools to treat them," said one activist, Mahmoud, who said he helped bring the journalists to the makeshift clinic.

France has demanded that Syria offer it immediate access to the wounded journalists.

"I ask the Syrian government to stop immediately the attacks and respect its humanitarian obligations," the French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, said in a statement.

"[We] have asked our embassy in Damascus to demand from Syrian authorities a securitised passage with medical help to be given to victims with the support of the International Red Cross."


Peter Beaumont

The GuardianTramp

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