Olivier Voisin sustained serious head and arm injuries on 21 February after a shell exploded when the 38-year-old freelance photographer was covering the Syrian conflict near the city of Idlib, says Reporters Without Borders.
Voisin was taken to a hospital in Antakya, Turkey. While the French foreign ministry tried to fly him out, his condition was too critical and he died on 24 February.
“We offer our most sincere condolences to Olivier Voisin’s family,” says Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “His tragic death, just two days after the first anniversary of the deaths of French photographer Rémi Ochlik and US reporter Marie Colvin in Homs, has again highlighted the heavy price being paid by those covering Syria’s armed conflict. I pay tribute to the 23 journalists and 54 citizen-journalists who have lost their lives in Syria since the start of the uprising in March 2011.”
Last week, a group of photographers, editors and journalists launched the A Day Without News? campaign to highlight the risks their peers face when covering war zones, and to persuade governments to take action to ensure their safety.
Voisin worked for newspapers and magazines such as Le Monde, Libération, La Croix and The Guardian among many others. In an email he sent to Mimosa Martini, an Italian friend, on 20 February, he talked about the dangers of covering the Syrian conflict. “The artillery fires almost every 20 minutes and the ground often trembles. The problem is that I think that these are blind fires and their cannons are strong enough to cover about 20 kilometers. There aren’t many direct combats. The guys would need about $20 U.S. worth of munitions for two-four hour battles. Therefore, their battles are shorter. During the day, nothing happens. I even wonder how they expect to win this war. This only confirms my fears that this war will last a long time.” Read the full letter here.