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August 13, 2012 (TSR) – Syrian pro-government al- Ekhbariya TV announced Monday that its photographer Hatem Abu Yahia, who was kidnapped three days ago along with three other mates, was killed.
A video footage posted on YouTube showed three of the kidnapped employees announcing the death of their colleague and claiming that he was killed during the government’s shelling of Damascus’ suburbs of al-Tal, where the four were kidnapped Friday.
Abducting and assassinating pro-government journalists have become common in Syria, making it harder for them to cover events at hot areas.
The Syrian government claimed Saturday that an “armed terrorist group” assassinated Ali Abbas, a journalist who works for the state news agency SANA, at his residence in Jdaidet Artouz area in the Damascus suburb.
On Aug. 4, al-Nusra Front, a shadowy group that claims responsibility for a number of suicide attacks in Syria over the past 17 months, claimed responsibility for the killing of a famous Syrian broadcaster, Mohammad al-Said, who was kidnapped from near his house in Jdaidet Artouz by an armed group on July 20.
“Armed terrorist groups” were also blamed by the government for two bomb attacks on Syrian TV and Radio Building in Damascus last week and on al-Ekhbariya TV building in Damascus suburb on June 27 that resulted in the killing of three journalists and four guards in addition to huge material damage.
As violence is rolling in, the Syrian government and opposition parties have traded barbs of falsifying facts through their own media outlets.
Thus it is not unusual to see pro-government TV channels dedicating quite a good portion of their programs to refute allegations made by the opposition activists and some Arab and foreign TV channels that support them. The same applies to the opposition.
However, matters have lately taken an upward and more serious trend when accusations and counter-accusations have turned into murder, kidnapping and assassinations.
A Syrian press organization said recently 39 journalists and cameramen have been killed since the outbreak of protests in Syria.
The Association of Journalists has also documented the murder of six journalists in July, five of them in central Homs province and the sixth in Aleppo city in northern Syria.
The development came at a time when the Syrian security forces allegedly continue the apprehension of journalist-activists, prompting the New York-based International Committee to Protect Journalists to plead with the government to release no less than 13 journalists held in Syrian jails.
Babacar Gaye, head of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria, condemned recent attacks on Syrian journalists, saying that “we condemn violence against the media coming from any of the sides.”
SYRIA MOURNS FOR THEIR FREEDOM MARTYRS
The body of the martyr journalist Ali Abbas, head of the Internal News Department at the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA ), was escorted from the Police Hospital in Harasta to his final resting place in Lattakia.
Solemn processions were held for the martyr who was assassinated by an armed terrorist group in his home in Jdeidet Artouz in Damascus Countryside.
The martyr’s brother, Captain Hussam Abbas held the international community responsible for this heinous crime through issuing decisions and imposing sanctions against the Syrian media as to prevent it from conveying the reality of what is taking place in Syria.
He added that this criminal act is another desperate attempt to silence the free and resistant voice which revealed the false and misleading news broadcast by satellite channels against Syria.
For his part, the martyr’s brother, Tammam Abbas, said that this crime exposed the reality of the armed terrorist groups backed by Arab and foreign sides, adding that attacking journalists aimed at assassinating the truth.
Journalist Safira Ismael said that martyr Abbas was noted for devotion to duty, high morals and diplomacy, adding that those who assassinated him increased determination of SANA workers to exert more efforts to reveal their deeds and crimes and protect the homeland.
In turn , journalist Hanadi Dayoub said that the martyr’s hardworking was an example for all of us, adding that targeting media cadres will not bow them down and that they will continue their mission in conveying the truth and facing the hostile media war.
Journalist Shahida Ajeeb said that martyr Abbas joined his colleagues and other sons of the homeland who sacrificed themselves to defend Syria in the face of the war aimed at undermining its people and land.
She added that the organized targeting of the national media which SANA is essential part of it came to weaken its national role in revealing the reality and exposing the essence of terrorism against Syria.
Martyr Ali Abbas was born in Dahr Barakat in Lattakia in 1975. He graduated from the Faculty of Information in 1997 – 1998. He started work at the Syrian Arab News Agency in 2002. He worked as head of the Internal News Department at the Agency before his martyrdom. He is single.
Syrian Human Rights Network Condemns Assassination of Journalist Ali Abbas
The Syrian Human Rights Network condemned the assassination of Journalist Ali Kamel Abbas who works for the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The network stressed in a statement that this crime is a flagrant violation of human rights and freedom of speech.
The network called on the international organizations, Reporters Without Borders Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO, the United Nations and the UN Security Council to move swiftly to put an end to these violations.
A horrific amateur video appeared on YouTube, apparently showing an atrocity against public service workers in Syria. The footage displays a crowd of people callously throwing the bodies of slain postal workers from a post office rooftop.
The video, the source of which could not be independently verified, shows several dozen people having surrounded the staircase of the building, some of them chanting “Allahu Akbar!” They watch corpses being thrown out and rolled down the steps.
Also, several people have got to the roof and are throwing down the apparently dead bodies of post servants.
As they hit the ground, the crowd rushes in to catch the appalling images on their mobile phones.
The video caused online outrage and heated debates on Twitter as to who the people committing the atrocity might be. The majority allege they are Free Syrian Army supporters who intentionally target civil servants backing the regime.
RT’s correspondent on the ground Oksana Boyko reports that around one-and-a-half million of the country’s civil employees have now become targets. Doctors, teachers and municipal workers risk kidnapping or assassination for simply doing their jobs.
“Documents confirm Syria’s armed opposition has a hit list with scientists, engineers, doctors and civil servants on it,” Ammar Safi, a plastic surgeon from Damascus, told RT.
His brother, Faris Safi was one of Syria’s most experienced civil pilots. US-educated, he logged more than 20,000 hours around the globe. He was coming home from the airport when gunmen attacked his car.
Earlier in August another amateur video blew up the global network.
It showed an apparent mass execution of Assad supporters in Aleppo at the hands of rebels from the Free Syrian Army. Several bloodied men were forced to kneel by a wall amidst a throng of excited, machine gun-touting men.
Also in August, a militant Islamist group claimed responsibility for the execution of Syrian state TV host Mohammed al-Saeed. Al-Saeed was kidnapped on July 19 of this year. The Al-Nusra Front, a little-known Islamist militant group, posted a statement August 4 on an Al-Qaeda-affiliated internet forum:
“The heroes of western Ghouta [in Damascus province] imprisoned the shabih [pro-regime militia] presenter on July 19…He was then killed after he had been interrogated,” AFP cited their statement.
Pro-regime journalists and TV stations are still subject to rebel attacks.
Syrian state news agency SANA says one of its reporters, Ali Abbas, was killed at his residence in Damascus on Saturday. The report blamed an armed terrorist group but gave no further details.
Another journalist was killed in a bomb attack while covering a story in al-Tal, a suburb in northern Damascus.
On August 6, a bomb was detonated at a state-run television and radio building in the capital of Damascus, leaving three people injured.
Seven journalists and workers were killed in June when an armed group attacked the headquarters of Syria’s al-Ikhbaryia TV.
UK-based journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark says the violence carried out by rebels turns ordinary Syrians away from the opposition. If previously rebels were believed to have had all the support, “it is the other way around now.”
“We had people who supported Assad at the beginning. I mean a lot of people not sure which way to go. They actually are being turned off by the atrocities you outlined. And I would say that possibly the support for President Assad is stronger now than back in March, 2011,”Clark told RT.
The reports of the atrocity against public service workers come as Washington and Ankara have discussed introducing a “no-fly zone” over Syria to help the rebels, and have set up a joint group “to facilitate regime change.”
But the fact that the rebels are calling for foreign intervention only stresses the desperate situation they find themselves in, believes Dr. Ali Mohamad, editor-in-chief of the Syria Tribune.
“Every time they call for foreign intervention they are just reassuring everybody that they cannot do anything on the ground,” he told RT. “They lost in Damascus. They are losing Aleppo as we speak.”
“If they claim they have popular support as they have been saying for 17 months why do they need foreign intervention?”
Watch RT’s Oksana Boyko’s report from Syria
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, stressed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged in a letter to the chairman of the Security Council concerning the implementation of the international resolution on settling the situation in Syria that the armed opposition shoulder the responsibility of escalating violence in Syria in general, and in Aleppo in particular.
Russia Today website reported Gatilov as saying on his Twitter account that the UN Secretary-General has offered objective assessment of the situation in Syria and acknowledged that the escalation of the crisis in Aleppo is because of the attacks of gunmen, pointing out that it is important that the UN Secretary-General calls for maintaining the UN presence in Syria to provide objective information about the situation in the country and to remain in contact with all parties.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a letter sent to France’s Representative to the UN Gérard Araud, who is chairing the UN Security Council currently, that members of the armed opposition had launched attacks in Damascus and Aleppo.