LONDON - The Syrian government said on Friday it would like to express its "sadness and sorrow" at the death of US journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs last week.
"As a natural humanitarian reaction it extends its sincere condolences," Syria's Foreign Ministry said in a statement released by its embassy in London.
Veteran war correspondent Colvin, who worked for Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in a Syrian army bombardment on a rebel-held neighborhood of Homs when shells hit a house being used as a media center.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday their bodies had been handed over to officials from the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said the government had "exerted immense efforts" to find out how Colvin was killed and to take out the bodies.
It blamed the reluctance of insurgents and journalists to cooperate with the Syrian authorities for the delay in retrieving the bodies and for threatening the life of French journalist Edith Bouvier who was injured in the same attack and only arrived back in France on Friday.