Syria: IFJ condemns murder of the third journalist killed this year

An independent Syrian journalist has become the third journalist killed in the country in 2016 after he was fatally wounded by a blast that targeted his home in Aleppo.

Khaled Issa (25), a photojournalist known for his activism, died on 24 June in a hospital in Turkey. He was sharing accommodation with Hadi Al-Abdullah, another independent journalist and activist, when an explosive device targeted their home in Aleppo on 17 June. Abdullah sustained injuries but is in a stable condition in a hospital in Antakya, Turkey.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for that attack but media have quoted some activists blaming Al-Qaeda’s affiliate Nusra Front for the targeted killing. According to them, the Nusra Front killed Abdullah for his increased criticism of the group. Both reporters documented crimes against Syrian civilians by the different warring parties in the country. Issa had sustained previous injuries reporting from dangerous conflict zones during the past five years working as a photojournalist.

“We are appalled by this new killing of a colleague in Syria,” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “Such a young and brave journalist trying to tell the world what the population is suffering during this tragic war. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. We once again remind the warring parties of their obligation to protect civilians on the ground, including journalists, so that they can freely do their work.”

Journalists Mohammed Zaher al-Shurqat and Majid Diran also lost their lives while on mission this year, according to IFJ statistics.

In addition, the Islamic State group published a video on Sunday showing the execution-style killing of five Syrian citizen journalists. The activists were kidnapped in Deir Ezzor, Syria, in October 2015 and killed between November and December last year, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights told media. “The video was only published now because IS -who are losing ground in Syria- want to send a message that they are still strong,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The footage showing the five victims’ execution was posted on the blog of the group’s Al-Baya radio last Sunday, 26 June. In the video, a narrator warns all journalists "warring against Islam and the Islamic State" that "soldiers of the Caliphate will reach" them, media added. The video displays images of journalists whom the group claims to have murdered in Turkey while the narrator warns reporters saying, "This will be your fate."

Reports stated that IS has previously claimed the killing of several citizen journalists working secretly in areas it controls in Syria and accused them of being spies.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

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