Syria: Journalist killed and another injured in Turkish airstrikes

Syrian journalist Issam Abdullah, a reporter from Hawar News Agency (ANHA), was killed while covering Turkish airstrikes on 20 November in northern Syria. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns Abdullah’s murder and demands the Turkish government launch an immediate investigation and stop targeting journalists and civilians.

Abdullah, 39, was killed near to Al-Malikiyah, in the countryside of Al-Hasakah Governorate, as Turkish forces bombed the region.

Another journalist, Muhammad al-Jarada, correspondent of Kurdish channel Sterk TV, was severely wounded  the same day in Kobani, a Kurdish majority town in northern Syria. He was injured while conducting a live broadcast outside a hospital that had previously been targeted by Turkish airstrikes. His condition is stable.

On 20 November, Turkish forces launched a series of airstrikes across northern Syria, a region that is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by Kurdish armed groups.

November saw four attacks against journalists in Syria including two murders - Issam Abdullah and Atef al-Saadi - making it the deadliest month of the year. 

The news comes on the back of a new report by the Syrian Journalists Association (SJA) which highlights that August 2022 was one of the most tragic months with 11 attacks on journalists.

In their November report, the SJA calls for “respecting freedom of the press, ensuring the safety of media workers, and holding those responsible for violations accountable.” It also asks for “the actors in Syria and international parties concerned to activate international laws related to the protection and defence of media professionals, freedom of the press, and the right to transmit information in the country.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We are deeply concerned by the killing of Issam Abdullah while reporting on Turkish airstrikes in northern Syria, and wish a speedy recovery to our colleague Muhammad al-Jarada. The IFJ calls on the Turkish government to halt its attacks on journalists. More protection is needed at the international level to ensure that journalists’ and media workers are not targeted. That is why the IFJ is campaigning for a new international convention to enhance journalists’ safety. We urge governments around the world to endorse it without delay”. 

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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