(DAMASCUS, Syria) — French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier became the first Western journalist to be killed in the 10-month government crackdown on dissidents in Syria.
Watchdog group Reporters Without Borders said that Jacquier was the victim of a mortar attack while on assignment in the city of Homs, one of the hotbeds of violence in Syria.
It’s believed that a civilian also died in the assault, while at least one other journalist and a number of civilians were wounded.
Covering the situation in Syria is especially dangerous for Western journalists because of a news blackout imposed by the government of President Bashar al-Assad in an effort to keep the rest of the world from learning about the true extent of the bloody crackdown that he’s denied imposing.
The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have died since al-Assad’s forces began their assault on pro-democracy protesters in mid-March 2011.
Jacquier, an award-winning journalist, had worked for France 2 TV since 1999 and covered fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Israel.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN