Thursday 1st March 2012
Avaaz: Last two journalists rescued by Syrian activists from Baba Amr
Avaaz welcomed the news that the final two journalists, Edith Bouvier and William Daniels, who were trapped under heavy shelling in Baba Amr, have finally reached Lebanon tonight. The pair had left Baba Amr with Paul Conroy and Javier Espinosa on Sunday evening but were forced to return back to Baba Amr after they were targeted on the outskirts of the town.
Bouvier had broken her femur in the attack that killed Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik and she had to be evacuated on a wooden stretcher. A second evacuation attempt by activists on Tuesday was able, despite intense bombardment, to smuggle Bouvier and Daniels into a safer neighbourhood of Homs. For a period of 21 hours after leaving Bab Amr, the volunteer activists supported by Avaaz lost contact with the pair.
Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz said: “Against incredible odds, Syrian activists have rescued all four international journalists from the hell of Baba Amr. Activist networks supported by Avaaz were able to smuggle Bouvier and Daniels into a safer neighbourhood of Homs on Tuesday. We had lost contact with the rescue party for the last 24 hours, but were overjoyed to hear that they had made it to safety.
We have no further casualty figures for the rescue effort, but the deaths of at least 20 activists is a testament to the staggering bravery of Syrian citizens, and a call to the world to match that bravery with urgent humanitarian and political action to stop the atrocities ongoing across Syria.” Further details: Each day, a team of over 35 activists from Homs worked together to help rescue them from Homs, but tragically over 13 died during these rescue efforts and to date, we have no further information as to whether any more activists died in rescuing Edith and William.
The rescue of Bouvier and Daniels brings to at least 51 the number of wounded journalists (4) and civilians (47) that were evacuated by the network in the last week. For the past week, the activists were not only working to secure the release of the journalists, they were also bringing in medicines and food into Baba Amr. Avaaz is already supplying humanitarian relief and medicines to other neighbourhoods of Homs, and to people fleeing the city.
For further information, please contact: London: Will Davies on firstname.lastname@example.org on +447855 419901 or Alex Renton or Nick Kimbrell in Beirut on +961 715 65495 or + 44 7957371902
Notes to editors: Avaaz is a global campaigning organisation with over 13 million members which campaigns to change the world from the one we have, to the one most people want. Avaaz has been working with activists on the Syrian Spring since it started, setting up a network of over 200 Citizen Journalists across the country, smuggling in medicines and international journalists to report on the unfolding story and campaigning to ensure that sanctions and political pressure are applied on the Assad regime. The organisation is entirely funded by small donations from its members.