Wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier leaves Beirut 

 

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


Edith Bouvier and William Daniels were taken on a medically equipped plane, said 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, confirmed the two journalists left Lebanon.

Earlier today, a senior Lebanese security official said Bouvier and Daniels were 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 earlier.

Bouvier, 31, was wounded in a rocket attack on February 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.

Daniels was not hurt in the attack.

A video posted online by activists soon after showed Bouvier lying on a hospital gurney with a white cast stretching from her left ankle to her thigh. In another video, Bouvier said her leg was broken in two places and that she needed an operation that local medics couldn't perform. Daniels stood at her side and pleaded for help.

"It is difficult here. We don't have electricity. We don't have much to eat. The bombs continue to fall," he said.

The security official, speaking on Friday 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 on 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.

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. He, too, was smuggled into Lebanon this week.

He described life in the neighborhood during the siege.

"The people just hide during the day — just waiting not to be hit because it was a matter of luck," he said in an interview with BBC. "There was no logic. They were shelling randomly, randomly from one corner to the other corner in the neighborhood."

He said people would only go out after dark.

"They went outside at night and tried to pick up the pieces of houses that were demolished and get some food and try to get some supplies for people inside that could not move."

On Thursday, videos released by activists in Syria said Colvin and Ochlik were buried in Baba Amr. But obscuring the picture, the Syrian government said on Thursday it had disinterred their bodies and would repatriate them.

Reached at her home in East Norwich, New York, 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.

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.

AP

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
Review: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull
football
Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
film
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit