French reporter wounded in Syria on way home

Two French journalists who had been smuggled out of Syria flew to France Friday, a week after one of them suffered injuries in the restive central Syrian city of Homs.

A Syrian protester gestures as he is silhouetted behind a Syrian flag bearing Arabic writing that reads:"God," during a demonstration demanding that Syria's President Bashar Assad steps down, in front of the Syrian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, Sunday, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Nader Daoud)

BEIRUT (CBS/AP) -- Two French journalists who had been smuggled out of Syria flew to France Friday, a week after one of them suffered injuries in the restive central Syrian city of Homs, airport and French embassy officials said.

Edith Bouvier and William Daniels were taken on a medically equipped plane, said the airport officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Francois Abi Saab, a French Embassy spokeswoman, also confirmed the two journalists left Lebanon.

Earlier Friday, a senior Lebanese security official said Bouvier and Daniels was smuggled across the Lebanese-Syrian border into the northeastern part of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Bouvier was then taken to the Hotel-Dieu de France hospital in Beirut, where she arrived early Friday.

Bouvier was wounded in a rocket attack on Feb. 22 during a government onslaught on the rebel-held neighborhood of Baba Amr. The attack killed two Western journalists -- American reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik -- and wounded a British photographer, Paul Conroy.

The security official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the convoy of ambulances and police vehicles drove through the mountains of Lebanon amid a heavy snow storm to bring Bouvier to Beirut.

In a video obtained by The Associated Press before Bouvier was taken to Beirut's Hariri Airport in an ambulance, she was seen in her hospital bed looking in good condition.

French President Sarkozy said late Thursday that Bouvier and another journalist William Daniels of France had been successfully smuggled into Lebanon.

"I had (Bouvier) on the phone. She is with her colleague, outside Syria," Sarkozy said during an impromptu news briefing in Brussels. "She has suffered a lot, but she will give the details herself."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe expressed his "immense joy" that the two were safe in Lebanon.

"They were taken in by the French Embassy in Beirut and everything is being done to ensure their medical care and their repatriation as soon as possible," Juppe said.

On Thursday, videos released by activists in Syria said Colvin and Ochlik were buried in Baba Amr.

Reached at her home in East Norwich, N.Y., on Thursday night, Colvin's mother, Rosemarie, said the family had received conflicting reports about her daughter's body.

"We're not getting any kind of decent information. It's all contradictory," she said. It was unclear if she had seen the video.

The videos and Bouvier's and Daniels' escape were steps toward the end of the ordeal of the six journalists who had sneaked into Syria illegally to report on the uprising against President Bashar Assad and found themselves trapped inside the besieged Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr.

Also stuck in the rebel-held neighborhood, which has been under a tight government siege and daily shelling for nearly four weeks, was Javier Espinosa of Spain.

The Syrian government has prevented most reporters from working in the country and many journalists have been crossing into Syria illegally from Lebanon and Turkey.

The Baba Amr section of Homs has been the target of the heaviest Syrian military shelling during a four-week siege of rebel-held parts of Homs. Rebel forces said Thursday they were pulling out of the neighborhood, and a Syrian government official said the army had moved in. Activists say hundreds have been killed in Homs.

On Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross was preparing to enter Baba Amr to deliver supplies. It was unclear how many civilians remained in Baba Amr, with reports putting the population still inside the district - which has been without food, water or power supplies for weeks amid the intense government assault - at anywhere from 10,000, to virtually nobody.


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