Two Western journalists were killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday when shells hit the house they were staying in, opposition activists and witnesses said.

They were named as Marie Colvin, an American working for Britain's Sunday Times, and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

A witness reached by Reuters from Amman said shells hit the house in which they were staying and a rocket hit them when they were escaping.

Both were veteran correspondents of wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Colvin was a fearless reporter who lost an eye when she suffered a shrapnel wound while working in Sri Lanka in 2001. In public appearances after that attack, she wore a black eye patch.

The Syrian conflict is especially dangerous for journalists to cover as opposition and rebel forces are for the most part bottled up in enclaves.

Pro-opposition areas of Homs have been under a sustained bombardment from government forces since February 3. Several hundred people have been killed, activists say.

Last week New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid died of an asthma attack while trying to reach an opposition zone.