Two Western journalists seriously wounded by the Syrian government's bombardments of an opposition enclave, have been smuggled with the help of activists into neighbouring Lebanon, reports say.
Reports of the arrival of Edith Bouvier, a French reporter, and Paul Conroy, a British photographer, in Lebanon on Tuesday came as the UN Human Rights Council discussed a resolution in Geneva, Switzerland, seeking to halt the violence in Syria to allow in vital humanitarian aid.
A Lebanese official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the journalists' arrival, saying that Paul made it to the UK embassy and that Bouvier's location in the country was unknown.
Separately, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, had confirmed reports that Bouvier successfully crossed the border into Lebanon, saying that it was a result of "tough negotations".
But Sarkozy later retracted the statement, saying that it was "not confirmed that she was safe in Lebanon".
Paul and Bouvier were seriously injured in a rocket attack by security forces last week on a makeshift media centre while covering the uprising in Bab Amr, an opposition stronghold in the heavily bombarded city of Homs.
Two other prominent Western journalists were killed in the attack.
Rima Fleihan, a spokeswoman for the Local Co-ordination Committees, an umbrella Syrian opposition group, said that Paul, a photographer for the Sunday Times, the UK newspaper, was smuggled out by army defectors.
Avaaz, the global activist group, which said it organised his evacuation, disclosed that 13 of the 35 Syrian activists who volunteered to help get Paul out of the country were killed by security forces.
On the diplomatic front, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued fresh calls on Tuesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
She recommended action to prevent Syrian government forces from continuing their nationwide bombardments and other attacks against civilians, which she said had resulted in "countless atrocities".
Separately, B Lynn Pascoe, the UN political chief, said the death toll of the Syrian government's crackdown on dissent was "well over" 7,500 people.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|