- Special Pages
BEIRUT: Popular Syrian comedian Yassin Bakush (pictured), was killed yesterday after his car was hit by a shell in an area of war-torn southern Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Anti-regime activists blamed the Syrian army for his death, and distributed via the Internet an amateur video of the body of a man believed to be Bakush, along with images of his passport and identity card.
Born in 1938 Bakush was famous across the Arab world for his roles in several television serials, theatre productions and films, which poked fun at politics and society in Syria at a time when state censorship was stifling.
Meanwhile, a French freelance photographer Olivier Voisin, who was seriously wounded in Syria on Thursday, has died of his wounds after surgery in Turkey, the foreign ministry said.
“We confirm his death,” a ministry spokeswoman said. Voisin, 38, had suffered head and arm injuries from shrapnel when a shell exploded near Idlib in northern Syria.
His death takes the death toll of reporters who have perished in Syria to at least 21.
The incident came just a year after Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed when a makeshift media centre in the western city of Homs was struck by a Syrian army mortar shell.
Turkish surgeons operated on Voisin on Friday in the border city of Antakya but he remained in critical condition.
In an email to a friend sent on the eve of his accident, he acknowledged he had become hooked to the adrenaline of war reporting, which he said “arouses incredible feelings, including the desire to live.”
Quoting from the Paratrooper’s Prayer, a poem found on a French soldier killed in Libya during World War II, Voisin wrote: “Lord, give me what others don’t want, I want torment and battle... I ask you now because I won’t have the strength to ask again.”
French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault expressed deep sadness at Voisin’s death.