#Syria Headlines 12 Jan 2012

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Death of journalist in Syria brings calls for investigation

USA TODAY – ‎21 minutes ago‎
BEIRUT (AP) – The death of a French journalist in Syria brought new calls Thursday for an independent investigation of the violence in the country after a series of mysterious attacks since December killed scores of people despite the presence of Arab 

Syria to Investigate Rocket Attack that Killed French Journalist, 8 Syrians

Voice of America (blog) – ‎35 minutes ago‎
The Syrian government says it will conduct an investigation into a rocket attack that killed French journalist Gilles Jacquier and eight Syrians in the central city of Homs on Wednesday. State news agency SANA said Thursday Homs Governor Ghassan Abdel 

Journalist’s Death in Syria Brings Calls for Probe

ABC News – ‎36 minutes ago‎
By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY and ZEINA KARAM AP The death of a French journalist in Syria brought new calls Thursday for an independent investigation of the violence in the country after a series of mysterious attacks since December killed scores of people 

Journalist’s death in Syria brings calls for probe

Houston Chronicle – ‎36 minutes ago‎
ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, AP, ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Syrian President Bashar Assad, center, addresses supporters during a rally at a central square in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012. Assad joined thousands of his supporters Wednesday in 

Syria unrest: El Arabi dismisses mission criticisms

BBC News – ‎48 minutes ago‎
The head of the Arab League has defended his organisation’s observer mission in Syria, following the criticism of a former monitor who said it was a farce. Nabil El Arabi said the mission was encouraging more Syrians to take part in peaceful 

Syria regime ‘liquidating’ journalists, opposition council says

National Post – ‎57 minutes ago‎
DAMASCUS — The opposition Syrian National Council accused the regime on Thursday of “liquidating” journalists in order to hush up what is happening in the country, a day after a French reporter was killed. The SNC’s accusation came as France demanded 

‘Syria is being punished for ties with Iran’

RT – ‎1 hour ago‎
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad waves at supporters during a rare public appearance in Damascus on January 11, 2012 in which he vowed to defeat a “conspiracy” against Syria, a day after he blamed foreign interests for stoking months of deadly violence 

Syrian Rights Group: More Arab League Observers Leaving Country

Voice of America – ‎1 hour ago‎
January 12, 2012 Syrian Rights Group: More Arab League Observers Leaving Country VOA News A Syrian rights group says more Arab League observers are leaving the country to protest the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown on a 10-month opposition 

Journalist’s death renews calls for Syria probe

CBS News – ‎1 hour ago‎
Syrians hold a candlelight vigil as the body of French television reporter Gilles Jacquier is taken out of a hospital in Homs, Syria, to be transported to the capital city of Damascus early Jan. 12, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images) BEIRUT – The death of a 

Many Arab monitors said to question Syria

Reuters – ‎1 hour ago‎
By Dominic Evans | BEIRUT (Reuters) – Many monitors in the Arab League’s troubled mission to Syria are angry over what they see as its failure to halt attacks on protesters and more are likely to pull out in protest, an Algerian former monitor told 

France wants ‘whole truth’ from Syria on journalist’s death

CNN – ‎1 hour ago‎
By the CNN Wire Staff Damascus, Syria (CNN) — The French foreign minister wants the “whole truth” from Syrian authorities about the death of a French journalist in Homs. Alain Juppe told France 2 television Thursday that an “investigation must 

Arab League’s Syria mission not going to plan, warns chief

The Guardian – ‎1 hour ago‎
The Arab League chief has cast further doubt on the delegation his organisation has sent to monitor the crisis in Syria, describing ongoing violence as “very worrisome” and saying the mission was not going to plan. Nabil al-Arabi’s comments on Thursday 

The risks of conflict

Times of India – ‎1 hour ago‎
Over the past few weeks, some Syrian opposition leaders have requested foreign military intervention to oust President Bashar al-Assad and his regime from power. Count the US out in any such endeavour. While an intervention involving the American 

Syria to probe killing of French reporter

Ninemsn – ‎1 hour ago‎
Syria says it will set up a commission of inquiry into the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier, killed by a shell in the flashpoint city of Homs. “The governor of Homs, Ghassan Abdel Al, issued a decision to create a commission charged with 

Probe into killing of French reporter in Syria

Khaleej Times – ‎1 hour ago‎
DAMASCUS — Syria said on Thursday it would set up a commission of inquiry into the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier, killed by a shell in the flashpoint city of Homs on Wednesday, official media said. “The governor of Homs, Ghassan Abdel Al, 

Syrians struggle to cope with energy shortages

Financial Times – ‎2 hours ago‎
Conflict-torn Syria is battling growing shortages of heating oil and other fuels as President Bashar al-Assad and the west fight a propaganda war over who is to blame. With scant petroleum product supplies combining with power cuts to leave people in 

All of TIME.com

TIME (blog) – ‎2 hours ago‎
The Fate of Bashar Assad: Will He Be the Next Gaddafi or the Next Milosevic? By Tony Karon | @tonykaron | January 12, 2012 | + Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) speaks at Umayyad Square in Damascus, Syria, Jan. 11, 2012. 

After Monitor Quits, Arab League Defends Its Syrian Peace-Keeping Mission

NPR (blog) – ‎2 hours ago‎
by Eyder Peralta In this frame grab from an amatuer video posted on YouTube, members of the Arab League monitor the recent violence in Syria. In this frame grab from an amatuer video posted on YouTube, members of the Arab League monitor the recent 

Two monitors quit Syria: Arab League

News24 – ‎2 hours ago‎
Cairo – Two Arab League monitors in Syria have quit, officials said on Thursday as the head of the operation accused an Algerian observer who resigned of making unfounded claims about the operation. “Two monitors have excused themselves, 

Syria opposition disappointed by Arab mission

RTE.ie – ‎2 hours ago‎
The Syrian opposition activists have said that they are disappointed by the Arab League observer mission’s failure to halt violent crack downs. Syrian opposition activists have said that they are disappointed by the Arab League observer mission, 

Arab League says no delay in sending more observers to Syria

Xinhua – ‎2 hours ago‎
CAIRO, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) — An Arab League (AL) official denied on Thursday there would be a delay in sending more observers to Syria. Adnan al-Khodair, head of the AL’s monitoring operations room in Cairo, told Xinhua when the AL would dispatch a new 

World powers want journos protected

Sky News Australia – ‎3 hours ago‎
World powers are demanding journalists in Syria be protected following the death of a French reporter in a rocket attack hours after President Bashar al-Assad vowed to defeat a ‘conspiracy’ against his regime. Meanwhile, hundreds of Syrian and foreign 

Wait and sea

The Economist – ‎3 hours ago‎
THE Syrian port of Tartus is Russia’s only military base outside the old Soviet Union. Moreover, Russia is the Syrian regime’s only big-power friend. So the arrival there of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrier and a few other warships earlier this 

More Arab League Observers Reportedly Leaving Syria

Voice of America (blog) – ‎3 hours ago‎
A Syrian rights group says more Arab League observers are leaving the country to protest the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown on a 10-month opposition uprising. Mousab Azzawi of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA 11 

Syria protesters gather against defiant Assad

CBC.ca – ‎3 hours ago‎
Anti-government protesters rallied overnight on the outskirts of Damascus, hours after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a surprise appearance at a pro-regime rally in the city centre where he again vowed to end the months-long revolt against his 

Spiral of violence, division continues in Syria

CBS News – ‎4 hours ago‎
The Syrian government, under international pressure, allowed just a handful of foreign reporters into the country. But sadly this very welcome initiative began with a tragedy. A mortar attack on civilians in Homs killed eight Syrian residents of the 

* Arab League split over troubled monitoring mission

Reuters Africa – ‎4 hours ago‎
By Alistair Lyon BEIRUT, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Several Arab League monitors have left Syria or may do so soon because the mission has failed to halt President Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown on a popular revolt against his rule, an Algerian former 

Arab observers face tough mission in Syria: China

Ahram Online – ‎4 hours ago‎
China’s envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike on Thursday said Arab League observers were facing “difficulties” in Syria, urging the government and other factions there to cooperate with the monitors. Wu made the remarks after talks with Arab League chief 

Algeria rejects criticism of Arab League in Syria

euronews – ‎4 hours ago‎
The Algerian government on Thursday downplayed suggestions from one of its former Arab League monitors in Syria that the mission was a “farce”. The 22-member body was sent to investigate whether President Bashar al-Assad would keep his promise and halt 

Assad digs in amid horrors of Homs

The Australian – ‎4 hours ago‎
THE conflict in Syria escalated yesterday as a member of the Arab League’s peace mission to the country described scenes of utter carnage and a French reporter became the first Western journalist to be killed in the uprising. 

Journalists, monitors, civilians: all #Syria Massacre targets

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Gilles Jacquier covered the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo

French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier has been killed in the Syrian city of Homs, the first Western journalist to die in the country’s current unrest.

He was on a government-authorised trip to the city, the France 2 channel said.

Syrian TV said Jacquier was among eight killed. A colleague said that minutes earlier they had interviewed some people at a pro-government gathering.

Opposition groups say 15 people died around the country on Wednesday, including three in Homs.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has called for full clarification of what happened.

“We vigorously condemn this odious act,” he said in a statement.

The Syrian authorities have severely restricted access to foreign journalists since the unrest began last March.

Observers arrived in Syria in December to monitor an Arab League peace plan, but the killing has continued. Several.Arab League monitors have quit, and one, Anwar Malek, gave an interview revealing his anger at the Syrian regime, saying he can no longer remain silent about what he’s witnessed, and at least one more is threatening to quit.

The league said on Wednesday it was delaying sending more monitors after an attack on an observer team earlier in the week, Reuters news agency reported.

Eleven observers were slightly injured in the attack, in the port city of Latakia.

‘Complete chaos’

At the scene

We were following civilian Syrian people who wanted to show us victims of the terror, of shootings. At a certain time a grenade got at a building – you could see the smoke.

And so most of us and also the Syrian people ran to an apartment building. The moment I got in, my French colleague was around 20m or 30m behind me. I got into the building, I was running up the stairs and other grenades were hitting, and it was very close so the glass got shattered…

I got into one of the apartments and tried to shelter there for a couple of minutes… Then I was running down and I saw the body of Gilles laying there. In the next couple of minutes you could see some other bodies. We just tried to get in a car and out of there because it was really dangerous. I’m quite sure I heard some shooting as well.

Jacquier, 43, was part of a group of 15 foreign journalists being shown around a part of Homs and speaking to locals.

One of his colleagues said they were escorted by soldiers and police, and were in a part of the flashpoint city where street life was relatively normal with some shops open.

A grenade fell close to them minutes after they had spoken to some young people and they fled into a nearby building, he told the BBC. More grenades hit the building causing casualties.

“There was smoke everywhere, people started screaming and yelling. There was complete chaos,” he said.

Jacquier was behind him when he went into the building, but he saw him lying dead a few minutes later, he added.

At least one other European journalist was wounded, reports say. Dutch officials and media said a Dutch journalist was hurt.

The area of the attack is inhabited by members of the Alawite sect and therefore considered to be mainly pro-government. No opposition supporters have given an account of the incident.

Jacquier is described as a veteran award-winning journalist who covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, and between Israel and the Palestinians.

His mission in Syria was to make a documentary film on the protests.