Gilles Jacquier

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Jacquier, 43, a journalist for the French public broadcaster France 2, was among eight people killed by hostile fire while covering a pro-regime rally in Homs, news reports said. Jacquier was the third journalist killed in Syria during the uprising that began 10 months earlier.

The exact circumstances of the attack were unclear. An Agence France-Presse photographer who witnessed the attack told AFP that the group was struck by a mortar shell; other news accounts attributed the attack to rocket-propelled grenades.

Jacquier’s employer confirmed his death in a statement on its website. France 2 said that Jacquier was with a cameraman, Christophe Kenck, who was wounded in the attack. Dutch journalist Steven Wassenaar was also injured, according to news reports.

International journalists had largely been banned from Syria since March 2011, with only a few journalists given permission to enter the country. Jacquier was among a group of 12 journalists invited on a government-authorized trip to Homs, according to the official Syrian Arab NewsAgency, or SANA. 

No group immediately took responsibility for the attack. SANA cited  the Ministry of Information as saying the attack was carried out by an armed terrorist group. The government routinely blamed killings and unrest on armed terrorist groups, although it did not provide evidence to support the claims.

Evidence compiled by the legal charity Center for Justice and Accountability for the case of U.S. journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed in Homs on February 22, 2012, suggests that Jacquier’s death was a premeditated killing by the Syrian government. A former Syrian intelligence official, referred to as “Ulysses” in the documents, alleged that Syrian regime forces lured Jacquier to a prearranged location and then fired a mortar at him. A member of the pro-government Shabiha militia then reportedly loaded an injured Jacquier into a taxi, instead of an ambulance, so he would not survive the attack, according to “Ulysses.” The testimony does not detail how exactly Jacquier died.

Jacquier was a prominent, award-winning correspondent who had worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Tunisia, among other hotspots. He was the first international journalist killed in Syrian uprising.