Homs could compare to the onslaughts of Bosnia and Rwanda, warns photographer who was smuggled out of stricken city
Paul Conroy, the British photographer wounded in the rocket attack that killed war reporter Marie Colvin in Homs, has warned that the Syrian city faces a “massacre beyond measure”.
In his first interview since he was smuggled out of Syria and across the border to safety in Lebanon, the Sunday Times photographer compared the onslaught by the forces of the Syrian regime to the mass killings of the 1990s in Bosnia and Rwanda and made a plea for the international community to act.
“Once the cameras are gone, as they are now, God knows what is happening,” he told Sky News from his hospital bed in London. “Any talking now is too late. The time for talking is actually over. Now the massacre and the killing are at full tilt.”
Conroy spent days stranded in the district of Baba Amr with shrapnel wounds picked up in the attack, in which the French reporter Edith Bouvier was also badly seriously injured. The French photojournalist Remi Ochlik was killed along with Colvin.
“I don’t know how we can stand by and watch this. It’s not a war, it’s a massacre,” he said. “An indiscriminate massacre of men, women and children.”
Asked what message the people of Homs would want him to convey, he replied: “I would say: somebody please forget the geopolitics, forget the meetings, forget all of that – do something.
“They would say, please send help. They need help. This is beyond meetings. They need something to happen.”
He added: “We are going to have the shame of sitting back and watching it once again, as in Srebrenica, as in Rwanda. It’s not too late, but it needs someone to step up to the mark. Otherwise, forget it, we are going to be talking about a massacre beyond measure.”
He said that despite reports that many people had fled, thousands of people are still in Homs, living in “bombed-out wrecks” and “waiting to die”.
Conroy said that working with Colvin had been an “absolute privilege” and described her as “a unique person”. “She was tenacious – one of the bravest people I know … We never get the choice of how we die, but Marie died doing something she was completely passionate about.”
from Ben Quinn