If you thought it was dangerous simply being a civilian in today’s war-torn Syria, then being a press correspondent covering the conflict there might be nearly as dangerous. Another TV press correspondent was killed by sniper fire in Syria Monday (May 27), the Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News), and two cameramen were wounded, Syria’s Information Ministry acknowledged.
Yara Abbas, a prominent female war reporter for state-owned Al-Ikhbariyah TV, was killed by rebel forces, the Ministry stated, when pro-government forces, supported by elements of the Hezbollah organization, attacked the strategic city of Qusair near the Lebanese border. Abbas was killed by a sniper near the Dabaa military air base. Both Qusair and the base are located in western region of the central province of Homs.
Syria’s state-run Al-Thawra reported last week that nine journalists and 23 other crew members working for state-run media had been killed in the country since the civil war erupted.
As many as a hundred TV and other media correspondents, not to mention those working alongside them, have been killed during the Syrian civil war that has raged since April 2011. Reporters and media personnel have been killed covering both the rebel and the Bashar al-Assad pro-government forces.
The danger to those reporters covering the conflict was made clear with the on air killing of a correspondent in September. Maya Nasser, a Syrian national working for Iran’s Press TV, was killed by a rebel sniper while reporting on violence in Damascus.
According to Amnesty International, both sides are equally to blame for the deaths of the correspondents. In addition to members of the media caught up as casualties of the ongoing war, the human rights organization contends that the both sides are also intentionally targeting reporters. Depending on who does the counting, the group’s report stated, the numbers of press deaths in Syria stand somewhere between 44 and 100. And these represent only a “a miniscule fraction” of a death toll.
That assessment is correct even if only compared to numbers compiled by the United Nations. A report at the U. N. Human Rights Council on May 27 stated that the number of civilians killed since Syria’s civil war began is estimated to be over 70,000.
To add further uncertainty to the numbers of press correspondents killed in Syria are those missing. James Foley, a 39-year-old veteran American journalist who worked numerous conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa and contributed videos to Agence France-Press, has been missing in Syria since late 2012.