Khattab was working on a photographic report about displaced people in Al Bab and the dangers surrounding their living conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the middle of his work, two masked men on a motorbike shot him 10 times near the city’s cemetery, killing him instantly.
Al Bab is controlled by Ankara-backed Syrian armed groups and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
Khattab, also known as ‘Kara Al-Safrani’, had earlier warned on his Facebook account about an assassination attempt against him on 23 September. The post, published four days after the threat, identified a man named Ahmed Al-Abdullah as the attacker.
According to the journalist’s statement, the attack was thought to be related to a photographic report he was working on in the village of Tar’hine, located in the Aleppo region, about living conditions, the lack of a school or clinic, and the poor reality of the people living there.
Due to the lack of responses by the police about this issue, he was forced to leave his house.
Besides his work at TRT World, Khattab was also a member of the board of directors of the Aleppo and Countryside Journalists’ Union.
SYJA said in a statement: “We condemn this crime in the harshest terms, and call upon fellow media colleagues to take all measures of caution to preserve their lives and personal security while pursuing their work. We will continue to demand and work strongly to achieve the principle of non-impunity and to hold all those who commit violations accountable for the sake of journalists”.
IFJ Secretary General, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We are deeply concerned about the death of Hussein Khattab, who had already faced previous murder attempts. We are particularly concerned that nothing has been done to protect his safety while he had already reported previous death threats. It’s the duty of governments to ensure a safe environment for journalists. We demand full justice for Hussein's killing.”