Syria unrest: UK journalist evacuated from Homs
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RIMANEWS-British Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy is no longer in Syria, having been smuggled out of the besieged city of Homs.

He was evacuated from the Baba Amr district on Monday with help from the Syrian opposition and Free Syria Army fighters, diplomats told the BBC.

The whereabouts of French journalist Edith Bouvier remain unclear.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said she had received reports that "massive campaigns of arrests" by Syrian troops against rebels had deprived many civilians of food, water and medical supplies.

Syria's representative to the UN, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, stormed out of the session, accusing countries of "inciting sectarianism and providing arms".

Reports on Tuesday said Homs had come under some of its heaviest bombardment yet, with the government sending in units of an elite armoured division into rebel-held districts.

'Warning shot'

The Sunday Times has confirmed Mr Conroy is now safe in Lebanon.

The Western journalists were wounded in an attack on a makeshift media centre last Wednesday during a three-week offensive on rebel areas by Syrian government forces.

American Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed.

The Syrian Red Crescent said earlier that it had reached Baba Amr on Monday, bringing out three Syrians, including a pregnant woman, her husband and an elderly female patient, but that it had been unable to bring out the Western journalists or the bodies of their colleagues.

The movements of 47-year-old Paul Conroy had been shrouded in discretion because of fears for his safety, the BBC's Jim Muir reports from Beirut.

Syrian opposition sources said he was smuggled out of Baba Amr on Monday and taken through the Syrian countryside before crossing the border into Lebanon during the night.

In a video posting a few days ago, Mr Conroy said he had received "three large wounds" to his leg and was being treated by Free Syria Army medical staff.

Ms Bouvier was more seriously wounded, suffering multiple leg fractures. Earlier reports said she too had been smuggled into Lebanon, but other reports suggest she may not have been evacuated from Baba Amr.

French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said he was unable to confirm any news regarding the Le Figaro journalist.

The Syrian activist group, Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), said on its Facebook page that Ms Bouvier and other foreign journalists had refused to leave Homs until the Syrian regime guaranteed their photographs and recordings wound not be confiscated.

"They have also demanded from the Red Crescent to transport some injured civilians that are in a critical condition, but the Red Crescent refused," the group added.

Their comments have not been independently verified.

There has been no word either on what has happened to the bodies of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik.

Ms Colvin's mother Rosemarie told the BBC's Today programme of her hope that her daughter's body could be brought home. "I want my daughter back and I can't rest myself, I can't have peace in my life, with my daughter's remains in that country," she said.

Checkpoint deaths

The Syrian government appears to have stepped up its offensive against rebels across the country this week - sending forces into several towns in northern Syria for the first time.

As many as 125 people died across Syria on Monday, many of them in a single incident at a checkpoint in Homs, the LCC said.

However, it is difficult to independently verify the death tolls and individual incidents as media access across the country is tightly restricted.

The emergency session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is to discuss a confidential report delivered by a UN panel of experts that lists Syrian army officers and government officials who could be investigated for crimes against humanity.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has urged the 47 nations in the council to be prepared to submit a complaint against Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

"The task of the council is to express the disgust of the entire world at the odious crimes that the Syrian state is committing against its people," he said.

But the meeting is unlikely to bring about any change from the government in Damascus which is currently fighting for its survival, the BBC's Jim Muir reports from neighbouring Lebanon.

It is more likely to put pressure on countries such as Russia and China, which have opposed any international action against Syria, he adds.[ach/BBC]