Syrian opposition fighters have announced the capture of suspected assassins of French journalist Gilles Jacquier who was killed in a rocket explosion in the city of Homs early last year.
A Free Syrian Army commander appeared in a video aired by Al Arabiya on Tuesday saying that four months ago a few members of Assad’s Shabbiha gangs were captured while conducting assassinations in the Baba Amr area.
He said the initial investigation revealed that they were involved in the killing of the French reporter.
The investigation also revealed that there are rapid intervention cells, established by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, to assassinate activists and journalists. The aim is to prevent coverage of crimes perpetrated against civilians in the country.
Jacquier was among eight other people killed on Jan. 11, 2012 by the rocket attack and 25 others wounded.
Jacquier was the first foreign journalist killed in Syria since the start of the uprising on March 15, 2011.
The executive editor of Jacquier’s television station, Thierry Thuillier, said he was “one of the best reporters in France 2, an exceptional man.”
“We are all in shock. We are going to miss him a lot,” he said.
The station said he had been authorized by the Syrian authorities to work in Homs and had a valid visa that allowed him to report from the country.
“They were not working undercover,” it said in a statement.
Jens Franssen, a reporter with Belgium’s VRT television, said around 15 journalists on the visit were in Homs, when “three or four grenades exploded near us.”