Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday it has learned of the deaths of four citizen journalists in Syria: Ahmed Abdallah Fakhriyeh shot dead in Dmeir and Samir Shalab Al-Sham Abu Mohamed killed by a shell in Homs, both on 14 April, and Alaa Al-Din Hassan Al-Douri, whose dead body was recovered in Hama province yesterday, and Khaled Mahmoud Kabbisho, summarily executed yesterday in Idlib.
The information we have received about the identities of these four activists and the circumstances of the deaths is difficult to confirm, however.
“Every day the violence in Syria causes dozens of deaths and takes a heavy toll among journalists and citizen journalists,” the press freedom organization said.
“The government disregards its international commitments and shows little sign of ending its brutal crackdown. Information from Syria has become extremely difficult to obtain, to the point where we are unable to confirm with certainty our information about the deaths of the four citizen journalists.”
“We hope that the arrival of international observers will allow the government to end the media isolation it has adopted so that it can pursue its bloody crackdown, and we draw the observers’ attention to this issue.”
Fakhriyeh, 35, was shot dead while he was driving to film the arrival of Syrian army troops in the village of Dmeir, about 40 km northeast of Damascus. He was a member of the local coordinating committee and had been filming events in Syria for the past year.
Al-Sham, 26, was wounded when a mortar round hit the building from which he was recording the shelling of two Homs neighbourhoods by Syrian forces. Residents were unable to go to his aid and he died shortly afterwards. Known by the nickname Abu Layla, he had been covering the Syrian uprising in Syrian for the Syria News Network for more than a year.
Al-Douri, 44, was wounded by a bullet at a roadblock near the ancient ruins of Apamea, about 40 km northwest of Hama. He was held in custody by security forces and his dead body, showing signs of torture, was handed over to his family three days later. A leading rights activist, he had given up his job more than a year ago to devote his time to the revolutionary movement. He was married with two children.
Kabbisho was held for questioning then summarily executed in the town of Idlib in the northwest of the country. His head was reported to have been crushed by a Syrian army tank. The activist, who regularly posted videos of demonstrations in Idlib onhis YouTube channel, was married with three children. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child.
Reporters Without Borders has also learned, again without confirmation, the arrest of Mohamed Al-Hariri two days ago in Deraa. If this turns out to be the case, the worst is feared for this citizen journalist, who appeared on the TV channel Al-Jazeera describing the operations of the Syrian army in the town.