Jan. 11 - French journalist Gilles Jacquier amongst at least eight people killed in Syrian city of Homs. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A French journalist was among several people killed in Syria's central city of Homs on Wednesday becoming the first Western reporter to have died during the 10 months of unrest in the country. France 2 television confirmed that journalist Gilles Jacquier had been killed. Jacquier who had previously reported from Iraq and Afghanistan, had been invited to Syria by the government. The circumstances of his death are still unclear. French President Nicholas Sarkozy (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY, SAYING: "You will understand that my first words - and I am sure you will all associate with me - go to the companions of Gilles Jacquier, this young journalist from France Televisions who has just lost his life in Syria, doing his job of reporting. This reminds us all of the difficulties of the journalists' profession, the dangers which they risk and and the same time the importance of what they do, in regimes which are as they are, in situations which are as they are, having courageous men and women to tell the truth of what is happening." The 43-year-old award winning journalist covered conflicts in the West Bank nd Israeli as well as Afghanistan. His colleagues are still coming to terms with his death (SOUNDBITE) (French) COLLEAGUE OF GILLES JACQUIER, GHISLAINE CHENU (STANDING NEXT TO ANOTHER COLLEAGUE, FRANCOISE JOLY) SAYING: "We are numbed, because we just can't believe it, we are shocked, we are beyond sadness, because Gilles wasn't just a great journalist, a great war reporter, he was also a friend, he was someone who we appreciated for his sensibility and his qualities as a human being." The death is likely to raise the tension between Paris and Damascus. France has led Western efforts to try to force Assad to end the crackdown and has suggested a need to set up zones to protect civilians - the first proposal by a major Western power for outside intervention on the ground. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters