Two foreign journalists were killed in Syria’s restive city of Homs on February 22.
Marie Colvin, a veteran American journalist reporting for London’s Sunday Times newspaper and Remi Ochlik, a 28 year old French photographer who won the World Press Photo award were killed, adding to an already high death toll as Syrian forces continue to attack rebel-held areas.
President Nicolas Sarkozy's spokeswoman Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet confirmed one of the journalists was French, without identifying him.
"The president gave us the sad news, which is apparently confirmed, of the two journalists and notably a French journalist, and asked the government spokeswoman to present our condolences to the families," she said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Colvin to parliament.
“This is a desperately sad reminder of the risks that journalists take to inform the world of what is happening and the dreadful events in Syria, and our thoughts should be with her family and with her friends," he said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, also paid tribute to Colvin and Ochlik.
“Marie and Remi died bringing us the truth about what is happening to the people of Homs,” he said. “(Colvin’s) tragic death is a terrible reminder of the risks that journalists take to report the truth. It is also a terrible reminder of the suffering of the Syrian people -- scores of whom are dying every day."
A dangerous place for truth seekers
Colvin and Ochlik reportedly died in a makeshift media centre, raising suspicion that they were deliberately targetted. Shells hit the building they were staying in, opposition activists said.
Activists said more than 40 people died a day earlier on February 21, including Rami al-Sayed, a man who broadcast a live video stream from Homs used by international media.
Mr Sayed was fatally wounded by shrapnel during the shelling of Baba Amr. His brother posted a video of his body in a makeshift hospital.
February 21 was also the day that the BBC published a report featuring Colvin, who said she had just witnessed ‘dreadful and heartbreaking scenes’ including the passing of a baby in a makeshift clinic.
Reactions and quotes
Social media sites and online news providers lit up with the news of the killings. Marie Colvin quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. It took some time for the journalists’ names to be confirmed, and concerns for the families of those slain were voiced.
Here are some highlights of the journalists' work and tributes:
The Guardian's France correspondent Angelique Chrisafis on Ochlik: "Rémi Ochlik, 28, was an award-winning French photojournalist, considered one of the biggest talents of a new generation of young news photographer-reporters."