French journalists evacuated from Syria

French journalists Edith Bouvier, who sustained serious leg wounds in Syria, and William Daniels, trapped for days in bombarded Homs, have escaped Syria for Lebanon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said.

"Edith Bouvier and William Daniels are currently safe on Lebanese territory and will within moments be under the protection of our embassy in Beirut," Sarkozy said during a brief news conference on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels.

"I have just spoken with Edith Bouvier, who is naturally exhausted, having suffered hugely but she knows she is free and that she will soon be taken care of," said Sarkozy.

"I want to thank all those who contributed to this happy ending after a week of efforts to evacuate them involving the International Red Cross and the Syrian Red Cross, which didn't succeed," Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy added that "the medical urgency took precedence and Edith Bouvier and her companion were to leave their surroundings using all available means".

The French president said the pair were not currently in Beirut, and could be brought back to France "tonight in a hospital plane belonging to the French republic", if doctors gave their go-ahead.

Bouvier has multiple fractures from a February 22 rocket attack on a makeshift media centre in Baba Amr, a rebel stronghold in the central Syrian city of Homs, in which US veteran reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed.

Photographer Daniels was also on assignment for Le Figaro, and was trapped alongside Spaniard Javier Espinosa of El Mundo daily.

Another journalist wounded in the attack, British photographer Paul Conroy, was evacuated to Lebanon on Tuesday.

- AFP

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