Poland tries to evac reporters wounded in Syria

In this Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 citizen journalism image provided by the Local Coordination Committees in Syria and accessed on Feb. 23, 2012, flames rise from a house from Syrian government shelling, at Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs province, Syria.
AP/Local Coordination Committees in Syria

WARSAW, Poland - Poland's diplomats are working to get wounded Western journalists evacuated from the Syrian city of Homs and the bodies of a U.S. journalist and a French photographer out of the country, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Earlier this year, Poland's embassy in Damascus took charge of representing U.S. interests in Syria, after Washington closed its mission there.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki told The Associated Press that Poland's embassy is cooperating with U.S., British and French diplomats and with Syrian authorities in efforts "to obtain the evacuation of Western journalists from Homs" and to bring out the bodies of American Marie Colvin and Frenchman Remi Ochlik.

Bosacki said the situation was "complicated" and declined to give more details.

Colvin, 56, a veteran correspondent for The Sunday Times of London, and Ochlik, 28, a photojournalist, died Wednesday in a rocket attack on the besieged city of Homs.

Two other journalists, French Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy of the Sunday Times, were wounded in the attack. They have both asked for help leaving the embattled city, which has emerged as the heart of the revolt against President Bashar Assad's rule and has been under siege for almost a month.

Red Cross frustrated in Syria evacuation effort

Also Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said plans to evacuate the two injured journalists are taking shape.

The effort to evacuate the reporters is part of a wider international push to bring aid to people in the areas hardest hit by the regime's efforts to quash the uprising against Assad's rule.

Activists groups said Monday the death toll for the 11-month-old uprising had surpassed 8,000. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told The Associated Press that more than 5,800 of the dead were civilians and the rest were either members of the military or army defectors.

The Syrian uprising began in March with mostly peaceful protests in a number of the country's impoverished provinces. As security forces violently suppressed them, killing thousands, the protests grew and escalated into an increasingly armed insurrection.

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