Wounded British photographer 'feared leaving Homs'

 

A wounded British photographer would not leave the Syrian besieged city of Homs with a humanitarian organisation for fear it was “not to be trusted”, his wife said.

Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy was injured on Wednesday during the attack which killed war correspondent Marie Colvin but refused to leave the city with the Syrian Red Crescent.

His wife Kate Conroy told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme her husband had been advised the organisation was “not to be trusted”.

“They refused to leave with them unless they had somebody from the British or French Embassy with them as an escort,” she said.

She spoke as the Government today said “all the necessary work is being done” to secure the return of Mr Conroy and to repatriate Colvin's body.

She continued: “I can understand his rationale for it but having had various conversations with MPs, the Foreign Office and so on, I know they are not going to provide an Embassy official to go with them.

“Now he needs to realise that they have an international profile and that is sufficient protection in its own right to get them out safely.”

The Syrian Red Crescent is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to negotiate with the Syrian authorities about the retrieval of wounded and others trapped in the city.

On Friday, teams from the ICRC were deployed to Homs to evacuate seven wounded and 20 women and children.

They have since been trying to re-enter the embattled neighbourhood of Baba Amr which has been devastated by a month of shelling by government forces.

An ICRC spokesman said: “We are attempting to go in the affected area again today. Needs are very urgent and it is absolutely crucial that we are able to enter in order to evacuate people in need of help and to bring in vital assistance.”

Mrs Conroy, from Totnes, Devon, said she could “reluctantly appreciate” the position adopted by the Foreign Office.

She added: “They can't sanction that but, for me, my husband has put his life at risk and the others have.

“I would like it if somebody in that embassy was to say 'forget the protocol, I'm going in and I'm going to help to get them out'.

“But I know that is not going to happen.

“I have asked and I've had quite a heated conversation with an MP and he's been absolute categoric with me that it's not going to happen.”

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: “We are doing everything we possibly can.

“The Foreign Office have been seeking to negotiate with the Syrian authorities. Our ambassador in Damascus is engaged in trying to do just that.

“It is extremely difficult and the conversations are patchy.”

It is understood that Foreign Office officials are working alongside the French embassy to try to retrieve the journalists. They are said to be pressing the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and working with humanitarian organisations.

Mr Mitchell also called on the Syrian regime of President Bashar al Assad to allow international aid agencies into the city and Baba Amr.

“We are demanding unfettered access for the humanitarian agencies who are there on the ground. We continue to push in every way we possibly can for this unfettered access,” he said.

He indicated Britain would oppose any moves by countries in the region to supply arms to the Syrian rebels, as they demanded at Friday's meeting in Tunis of the international Friends of Syria group.

“We need to stop the fighting, not boost it in any way at all,” he said.

He warned, however, that the regime would be held to account for its actions.

“This is an evil regime that has turned its guns on its own people. It is despicable what's happening and we will hold them to account in every way that we can for the human rights abuses that are going on,” said Mr Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell said there was evidence of people on the ground "infiltrating the Syrian Red Crescent" and "posing an additional danger" to anyone seeking to leave the city.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor