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Journalist's body arrives in France

The body of a Sunday Times journalist killed in Syria has arrived in Paris after being flown from Damascus on board a French plane.

The French foreign ministry said the body of Marie Colvin, along with that of French photographer Remi Ochlik, arrived on Sunday.

Some reports have suggested Ms Colvin's body will be repatriated to the US as early as Monday or Tuesday. Mr Ochlik's body will remain in France.

Syrian Red Crescent officials had handed over the bodies to embassy officials, with Polish diplomats taking the remains of American-born Ms Colvin following the closure of the US embassy in Damascus last month.

The bodies, in brown coffins placed on stretchers, were transferred outside the Assad hospital in Damascus and driven away in an ambulance. The journalists' belongings were placed in black plastic bags.

Ms Colvin, 56, and Mr Ochlik, 28, died on February 22 after being trapped inside the besieged Baba Amr district of Homs, which has been a target of heavy military shelling.

Their deaths fuelled renewed calls for urgent international action to avert a humanitarian disaster in Syria where more than 7,500 civilians have died at the hands of brutal leader president Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, China offered a proposal to end the violence in Syria, calling for an immediate ceasefire and talks by all parties. But it stood firm against any intervention by outside forces.

The proposal, released by the foreign ministry, comes as United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon is calling on Assad's government to allow immediate access to humanitarian workers amid the military crackdown against anti-government groups.

Beijing's plan comes after China was roundly criticised for joining Russia in vetoing a UN resolution which it feared would open the door to intervention against Assad's authoritarian government.


From Belfast Telegraph