A civil case in an American court brought by the family of journalist Marie Colvin, killed while reporting in Syria, has revealed shocking new evidence of the Syrian government's attitude towards journalists who do not follow Damascus' script.
If the case is successful it could lead to justice for many, inlcuding Syrians themselves says veteran reporter Lindsey Hilsum.
"The significant thing about the evidence that the judge has unsealed is that it suggests that Marie Colvin was targetted, it was an extra-judicial killing according to the prosecution. There are 2000 pages of evidence. Maybe the most significant thing is the sworn testimony of a defector, called "Ulysses", that's to protect his identity. He was the intelligence officer in Homs where Marie Colvin was killed.
He says that they surveilled the electronic signals coming out of Babar Amer where she and the other journalists were. There was an informant and based on that info orders were given to an artillery unit outside Babar Amar to target the media centre where the journalists were staying. And what this defector says was that these orders to kill journalists went up to the highest levels of the Syrian regime," says Hilsom, who is writing Colvin's biography, due out later this year.
"The point of the case as Marie's sister has told me is to show that the Syrian government targeted not only journalists but ordinary Syrian citizens, and certainly a mountain of evidence including smuggled documents from intelligence agencies has been smuggled out of the country in the last seven years, and many people are working on that evidence in the hope that, some day, President Bashar al-Assad and other senior members of the regime will one day be tried in the International Criminal Court and this case is in some ways a test case that might pave the way for that."