French reporter wounded in Syria arrives home
French journalist Edith Bouvier smiles as firefighters carry her into an ambulance after the plane carrying her and French photographer, William Daniels, landed at the Villacoublay military airport outside Paris, Friday, March 2nd, 2012. / AP Photo/Zacharie Scheurer
(CBS/AP) VILLACOUBLAY, France - Two French journalists smuggled out of a war-torn Syrian city where they were trapped for nine days returned home Friday, one injured and carried from the plane on a stretcher, the other smiling broadly and punching his fist in the air.
A red ambulance whisked Edith Bouvier to a hospital after she lingered on the special French government aircraft for more than 30 minutes with loved ones and President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The French president greeted the 31-year-old Bouvier, a journalist for Le Figaro, and William Daniels, a photographer, at Villacoublay military airport, west of Paris. Only Bouvier's arm was visible, reaching out to hug dear ones as the stretcher reached the tarmac.
Daniels, in blue jeans, a jacket and wool cap, smiled and raised his right arm after leaving the plane. Neither spoke to journalists.
Sarkozy praised Bouvier's courage and the "almost chivalrous spirit of her partner in misfortune, William Daniels, who never abandoned Edith Bouvier even though he was unhurt and had other possibilities of getting out."
In brief remarks before the pair descended from the plane, Sarkozy criticized Syrian authorities.
"I want to say in the most solemn way that the Syrian authorities will have to answer to international legal authorities for their crimes. The crimes they committed will not go unpunished," he said before entering the aircraft himself to join loved one there talking with the returning journalists.
Both had been caught up in a Syrian government siege of a rebel-held neighborhood in the city of Homs.
Bouvier sustained several fractures to a leg during a rocket attack that killed two Western journalists American reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik and wounded a British photographer, Paul Conroy.
On Thursday, videos released by activists in Syria said Colvin and Ochlik were buried in Baba Amr. The Syrian government later said it dug up the bodies after taking Baba Amr so they could be repatriated. Later Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said its aid workers had been given custody of the bodies and were transporting them to Damascus.
The Baba Amr section of Homs has been the target of the heaviest Syrian military shelling during a four-week siege of rebel-held parts of Homs. Rebel forces said Thursday they were pulling out of the neighborhood, and a Syrian government official said the army had moved in. Activists say hundreds have been killed in Homs.
On Friday, the Red Cross was preparing to enter Baba Amr to deliver supplies, but had been blocked from entering the district by Syrian forces.
It was unclear how many civilians remained in Baba Amr, with reports putting the population still inside the district - which has been without food, water or power supplies for weeks amid the intense government assault - at anywhere from 10,000, to virtually nobody.
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