Slain US journalist 'responsible for own death', says Assad

Slain US journalist 'responsible for own death', says Assad
Reporter Marie Colvin, who was killed by suspected regime shelling in Syria four years ago, is responsible for her own death, said Syrian President Assad in an interview on Wednesday.
2 min read
14 July, 2016
Colvin's family filed a lawsuit in a US court alleging Assad's regime killed her [AFP]

A US reporter killed in alleged Syrian government bombardment of a rebel district in 2012 was "responsible" for her own death, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview released Thursday.

Speaking to NBC News in Damascus, Assad said Marie Colvin bore responsibility for her death in the Baba Amr district of Syria's third city Homs because she had entered the country illegally and worked with "terrorists."

"It's a war and she came illegally to Syria. She worked with the terrorists, and because she came illegally, she's been responsible of everything that befall on her," Assad said, speaking in English.

Asked if she was responsible for her own death, Assad replied "of course," though he denied that his forces had targeted her.

"The army forces didn't know that Marie Colvin existed somewhere," he said.

"Nobody knows if she was killed by a missile or which missile or where did the missile come from or how.

"No one has any evidence. This is just allegations," he said, adding that "hundreds" of journalists had been to Syria "legally and illegally."

"Why to single out this person in order to kill her? There is no reason," he said.

His comments come days after relatives of the long-time war correspondent filed a lawsuit in a US court alleging Assad's regime targeted her to stop her covering government atrocities.

The suit, based on information from captured government documents as well as defectors, claims the Syrian military intercepted Colvin's communications and unleashed a barrage of rocket fire on her location, killing her and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

The suit says senior Assad regime officials conspired "to surveil, target and ultimately kill civilian journalists in order to silence local and international media as part of its effort to crush political opposition."

Colvin's death was described by her family as a cold, deliberate and well-calculated plan by the Syrian regime to kill and silence journalists reporting on war atrocities.

Since the start of Syria's war in 2011, around 100 journalists have been killed, the majority blamed on the regime.

While some were caught alongside other civilians and fighters in regime airstrikes, others have been threatened with abduction and execution at the hands of militant groups.

Agencies contributed to this report.