French photojournalist and Demotix contributor Olivier Voisin died Sunday, Feb. 25, from injuries in northern Syria. He was 38 years old. He never regained consciousness following an operation on Friday.
One familiar with the situation tells Demotix that on Saturday, doctors in the Turkish border city where Voisin was initially operated on deemed it too dangerous to transfer him to Paris for further treatment.
French journalist Antoine Vitkine has posted the text of an email Voisin sent to a friend before falling to shrapnel.
The letter deserves to be read in full. Voisin writes of his difficulties crossing the border, the conditions in Syria, his frustrations with photo editors and his addiction to adrenaline and "this damn camera."
French President Francois Hollande released a statement, reading in part that Voisin's death "reminds us tragically of the risks taken by journalists to inform our fellow citizens, no matter the dangers."
Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire also released a statement on Voisin's death:
“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.”
Everyone at Demotix feels great sadness about this terrible situation.
We remain proud to have published his work, which was excellent and foretold greater things to come. Voisin's death is a loss to journalism, but a loss that cannot compare to that felt by his family, friends and loved ones.
-- original update on Voisin's injuries from February 22 --
Reporters Without Borders today shared the sad news that the French photojournalist Olivier Voisin, a Demotix contributor who has recently been filing from Syria—including an incredible set this week on internal refugees living in caves — was badly injured yesterday by shrapnel.
Voisin was injured by shrapnel from an exploding shell while covering the operations of a katiba (armed opposition group) near Idlib. He was taken yesterday to the International Hospital in the Turkish border city of Antakya, where he underwent an operation to his arm this afternoon.
Doctors say he is still unconscious and describe his condition as critical but stable.
The situation is moving quickly; Demotix has confirmed that Voisin's injuries were life-threatening.
Surgery on Voisin's arm was completed earlier today, according to Reporters Without Borders, and he may be transfered out of Turkey for further treatment.
The Rory Peck Trust is also aware of Voisin's situation; he may be eligible for help through their freelance assistance programme.
Voisin has also been filing for AFP recently. His website, with work from the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, is here: http://oliviervoisin.fr/
We will update this post as we recieve more information about his condition.