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Authorities urged to allow aid, evacuation for wounded, dead

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, February 23. 2012 - Syrian authorities must allow urgent medical aid to reach journalists wounded in the government shelling of Homs on Wednesday, and they must allow immediate evacuation of the dead and injured, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

"The Syrian army must immediately cease attacking Homs and lift its blockade of the road to the city to allow for the safe evacuation of wounded civilians, including journalists," said CPJ's Deputy Director Robert Mahoney from Cairo.

U.S.-born correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the attack on Homs, an opposition stronghold under government siege for 20 days. Paul Conroy, a Times photographer, and Edith Bouvier, a reporter for Le Figaro, suffered serious injuries, news reports said. William Daniels, another photographer for theTimes, was also injured, according to news reports.

"Media reports suggest that our injured colleagues are in need of proper medical care," Mahoney said. "It is also a particularly callous act to prevent the families and friends of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik from receiving the bodies."

The New York Times quoted Omar Shakir, a Homs activist, today as saying that the Syrian Army had closed off the road to the besieged city, effectively blocking aid and evacuation. British and French officials have demanded that Syria allow medical access to the wounded along with evacuation of the injured and dead.

Opposition activists in Syria say government troops have killed more than 100 people since February 21, mostly in the provinces of Homs and Idlib.

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