Yves Debay in Afghanistan in 2005
24 December 1954|
Élisabethville, Belgian Congo
(modern-day Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
17 January 2013 (aged 58)|
|Cause of death||Sniper fire|
|Occupation||Publisher, editor and journalist who specialized in military and war|
|Known for||war reporting|
|Home town||Paris, France|
Yves Debay (24 December 1954 – 17 January 2013), a veteran French-Finnish war correspondent, founded and reported for French-language magazines Raids and later Assaut (Translation: Assault), which is published out of Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, France. He was the first Finnish journalist to be killed in Syria.
Yves Debay was born in Élisabethville, Belgian Congo (later Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo). He first enlisted in the Belgian army in 1975 and later was a tank commander before turning to mercenary activities. In 1987, he became a French citizen.
Yves Debay was a former soldier who exchanged his gun for a pen and became a journalist specialising in military issues for war enthusiasts. In the late 1970s, Debay served in the Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment during the Rhodesian Bush War, 44 Parachute Brigade in the South African army during the South African Border War and later had a career as a journalist writing for Gazette des Armes. Debay was one of the founders of Raids in 1986 and worked for the French-language magazine for over 20 years covering military and war issues. In 2005, he founded his own military magazine called Assaut, for which he served as publisher, editor and journalist. As a war correspondent, he covered wars in Afghanistan, both Iraq wars, Lebanon, the Balkans, Libya and Syria.
Little is known about the circumstances in which Debay was killed. An anonymous source, described in the media as an activist, told the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), ".. it seems like he entered a very dangerous street where the army and pro-regime militia were positioned" before he was killed by a sniper. The source claimed to have deposited his body in Bab al-Salama, a border checkpoint for Northern Syria and Turkey.
While a hostage situation was ongoing in Algiers after France's intervention in Mali, French President François Hollande issued an official statement, "France condemns this heinous act and expresses to the family and friends of Yves Debay its condolences, sympathy and solidarity... France pays tribute to Yves Debay and other journalists who, in Syria, pay with their lives for their commitment to freedom of information."
- Wildcat, Carnets de guerre d'un journaliste rebelle (2004).
- List of journalists killed during the Syrian civil war
- Battle of Aleppo (2012–2013)
- Lord Richard Cecil
- Sterling, Joe (2013-01-18). "Journalist killed in Syria". CNN International. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- Jaulmes, Adrien (2013-01-18). "Syrie: un reporter français tué à Alep". Le Figaro. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- "Le journaliste franco-belge Yves Debay tué à Alep". France 24. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- Ourdan, Remy (2013-01-18). "Yves Debay, fou de guerre et aventurier iconoclaste". Le Monde. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- "Belgian journalist Yves Debay killed in Syria: Aleppo Info. Center". Al Aribiya. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- Associated Press (2013-01-18). "French president offers condolences for French journalist killed in Syria". Fox News. Retrieved 2013-01-18.