- (PHOTO: Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
Hours after reporting on the danger and disaster in Syria, Marie Colvin was killed. She was a reporter for the Sunday Times and died along with French photographer Remi Ochlik.
Reports state that Colvin and Ochlik were attempting to escape a building that had come under fire when the building was hit by a rocket. The building then collapsed, killing those inside and injuring several others. A Syrian activist named Omar told Reuters, "They are still under the rubble because the shelling hasn't stopped. No one can get close to the house."
Colvin was from Oyster Bay, N.Y., and worked as a foreign correspondent for British paper The Sunday Times. Just yesterday she reported on U.K. television about the situation in Syria, particularly Homs and Baba Amr. "The Syrians are not allowing civilians to leave. Anyone who gets on the street, if they are not hit by a shell, they are sniped," Colvin reported.
"I think the sickening thing is the complete merciless nature…they are hitting civilian buildings almost mercilessly, without caring. The scale of it is just shocking." Syrian forces have taken over the cities of Homs and Baba Amr and launched an all-out assault against civilians.
President Bashar al-Assad's forces have killed nearly 5,500 people in 2011. The troops are fighting insurgents who refuse to allow al-Assad's reign of terror to continue. World leaders, including those from the United Nations and the United States have urged Assad to step aside in order to end the massacre.
Very few reporters have been allowed inside Syria since the military crackdown, making the loss of Colvin even more significant. Reporters around the world have expressed their shock and sadness at the loss. NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel tweeted, "Marie Colvin is one of the greats. Been everywhere. Would be a tragic loss."
Times Editor John Witherow stated that Colvin was "an extraordinary figure driven by a passion to cover wars in the belief that what she did mattered." Foreign Secretary William Hague added, "Marie Colvin died helping the people of Syria share their plight with the world."
Colvin was no stranger to threats and danger of her job. In 2001 she was hit by shrapnel and lost sight in her left eye. She previously covered the Tunisian uprising and Arab Spring in Egypt and Libya. "We always have to ask ourselves whether the risk is worth the story. Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price," Colvin said in 2010.
"Covering a war means going to places torn by chaos, destruction and death…and trying to bear witness. It means trying to find the truth in a sandstorm of propaganda when armies, tribes or terrorists clash. And yes, it means taking risks, not just for yourself but often for the people who work closely with you."
On Sunday she reported: "The scale of human tragedy in the city is immense. The inhabitants are living in terror. Almost every family seems to have suffered the death or injury of a loved one."