Reporters Without Borders

 More news providers killed by regular army, rebels or Kurdish militia

More news providers killed by regular army, rebels or Kurdish militia

Published on Friday 23 November 2012.
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At least four journalists and citizen-journalists have been killed by the regular army, the rebel Free Syrian Army or Kurdish militiamen in the past week.

A Syrian state TV journalist, Bassel Tawfiq Youssef, was killed on 21 November in the southern Damascus suburb of Tadamun. The official news agency SANA said he was killed by “terrorists” while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said he was shot by rebels who accused him of belonging to a pro-government “shabbiha” militia.

The Syrian Journalistic Association (SJA) quotes the Syria Stamp network as saying one of its members, the citizen-journalist Hozan Abdel Halim Mahmoud, was killed while filming clashes between the rebel Free Syrian Army and a militia operated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish party, in Ras Al-Ain, in the northeastern province of Al-Hasaka, on 20 November. Mahmoud had been very active covering demonstrations in the nearby city of Qamishli. Abed Khalil, the president of Ras Al-Ain’s Kurdish municipal council, was meanwhile killed by a Free Syrian Army sniper during clashes on 19 November. Khalil was a journalist by profession.

Mohammed Al-Khalid, a citizen-journalist from Homs, was executed by the Diraa Al-Shahba Brigade’s Namr Battalion in Aleppo on 18 November for repeatedly criticizing the battalion’s actions in the city.

The SJA also reports that Abdullah Hassan Kaake, a citizen-journalist, died under torture by military intelligence personnel in Aleppo on 17 November. Two of his brothers – Abdel Ghani, another citizen-journalist, and Ahmed Kaake – have already been killed since the start of the uprising in Syria.

According to a Reporters Without Borders tally, at least 15 journalists and 41 citizen-journalists have been killed in connection with their journalistic activities since the start of the armed conflict.

Two other citizen-journalists have been killed by shells in the past week. Mohammad Al-Zaher, also known as Abu Nasser Na’imi, was killed during shelling of the Damascus suburb of Al-Buaida on 19 November while Mustafa Kerman was fatally injured during shelling of the Aleppo district of Al-Bustan Al-Qassir on 16 November.

Reporters Without Borders hails the Syrian government’s release of the Turkish cameraman Cüneyt Ünal on 17 November. An employee of US-funded Al-Hurra TV, Ünal was abducted on 20 August in Aleppo. The following three foreign journalists are still being held by their abductors or are missing:

  • Ankhar Kochneva, a Ukrainian journalist who has worked for many Russian news media, especially as an interpreter, was kidnapped by an FSA faction on 9 October. She was able to confirm by telephone the same day that she had been taken hostage. And then, on 12 and 13 October, she was able to contact NTV, one of the Russian media she has worked for as an interpreter. A video was released on 8 November in which she asked the Ukrainian, Russian and Syrian authorities to agree to her captors’ demands.
  • Bashar Fahmi Al-Kadumi, a Jordanian reporter working for Al-Hurra, went missing in Aleppo on 20 August, at the same time as his Al-Hurra colleague, Cüneyt Ünal. After his release, Ünal reported that Kadumi was wounded in the stomach by a shot fired by a Free Syrian Army sniper.
  • Austin Tice, a US freelancer who worked for the Washington Post, Al-Jazeera English and McClatchy, went missing while reporting in a Damascus suburb on 13 August. A video showing him held by Jihadis was posted online on 26 September. The only sign of life since his disappearance, it gave no indication as to where he is currently being held, exactly who is holding him and what their demands are. His parents gave a news conference in Beirut on 12 November to request his release.

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