Three Syrian opposition activists were killed in a daring operation to smuggle a wounded British journalist out of Homs, Syria to Lebanon, reports indicated Tuesday.

Photographer Paul Conroy, 47 -- the first foreign journalist to escape Syria -- was being carried by stretcher from Baba Amr to the Lebanese border when the party was shelled by government forces, according to the opposition group Local Coordination Committees (LCC).

LCC spokeswoman Rima Fleihan told the Associated Press that Conroy was smuggled out by Syrian army defectors calling themselves the Free Syria Army Fighters in a nighttime operation.

Meanwhile, the bodies of renowned war correspondent Marie Colvin and photojournalist Remi Ochlik, who were killed in a blast last week, remain in Syria.

Wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier, who last week made an emotional video appeal for her release, has also been rescued, President Sarkozy said Tuesday.

The French Premier added he was glad Bouvier's  nightmare is over.

I have heard that he is out, Conroy's wife Kate Conroy told the AP.

 All I can say is that we are delighted and overjoyed at the news, but I am not going to say any more than that at this point.

Conroy's father Les Conroy said his wife had spoken with their son and described him as being in very good spirits.

We're all very relieved and happy that Paul's out, he added.

According to the LCC, a number of western journalists are negotiating via the Syrian Arab Red Crescent for safe passage out of the country without having their material confiscated by government forces.

The news came as the Syrian army continued to pound the central region of the country on Tuesday, a stronghold of opposition forces fighting in the 11-month-old conflict to oust President Bashar Assad.

Opposition groups said at least 144 people were killed Monday, including 64 who died in a horrifying massacre.

On one of the bloodiest days of the conflict, survivors of at a checkpoint in Homs told of women being kidnapped while 64 corpses were later found with bullet holes and stab wounds in farmland outside the city.

Conroy, who worked for Britain's Sunday Times, was wounded in the same blast that killed Colvin and Ochlik.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Colvin's mother Rosemarie Colvin vowed to get the body of her daughter back.

Sometime, somehow we will bring her home. I can't rest myself, I can't have peace in my life with my daughter's remains in that country.

I think that mothers listening to me would feel the same way and understand how a mother feels. Anyone who can help in any way, I would just beg them to do it.