French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier has been killed in the Syrian city of Homs; he is the first Western journalist to die since anti-regime protests erupted 10 months ago. Jacquier was an experienced war correspondent who had previously reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Israel and Kosovo and he was not working undercover, he had been authorised by the Syrian authorities to work in Homs…
Jacquier was with other journalists reporting on the situation in the city, a centre of opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The question is: what happened in Homs? Who did kill the journalist and injured several others? French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe condemned the attack and demanded the authorities carry out an immediate investigation. Reporters Without Borders also demanded an inquiry.
Gilles Jacquier was a great reporter and I watched his work as a correspondent for the program Envoyé Spécial on France 2. The deadly attack in Homs came hours after Anwar Malek, an Algerian member of the Arab League team of observers in Syria told Al Jazeera that he was quitting because “the mission was a farce and the observers have been fooled (…) the regime orchestrated it, and fabricated most of what we saw.”
The U.N. estimates more than 5,000 people have been killed in the uprising. France has led Western efforts to try to force Assad to end the crackdown, maybe it’s time to take action now. Before it’s too late, if not already.