Journalists at risk in southern Syria
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Journalists at risk in southern Syria

Orient Net - Yasser Ashkar
Date: 2017-01-05 08:00
The majority, if not all, Syrian journalists in the opposition-held areas continue to risk their lives covering events in their country where the violence shows no real signs of coming to an end any time soon.

“Many reporters have braved many dangers through covering the war in the southern part of Syria, entering high-risk areas in order to film and to enable civil society’s actors to speak to the outside world,” journalist Ismaeil Karaki told Orient Net.  

“These little recognized journalists faced many problems throughout the year in 2016,” said Karaki. “Terrorist groups related to ISIS, regime forces and gangsters attacked many reporters in a variety of ways.”

In one instance, the car of Abraham Monajer, a reporter for the Smart Media Agency in Daraa, exploded after an improvised explosive device (IED) was planted in its engine compartment . 

After the explosion, Monajer said that people related to ISIS had been threatening to kill him.

Karaki added that on another occasion that occurred after nightfall “gangsters stopped a car carrying reporters working for the Syrian Media Organization (SMO) by shooting some bullets towards it and tried to abduct the car’s occupants.”

Karaki added that fortunately the driver was able to miraculously get away.

Another time the bullets of a regime sniper in Daraa City did not miss hitting the body of activist  Abo Omar Bajbouj who was covering the daily clashes between the regime forces and opposition fighters in the city of Daraa. 

“Local hospitals could not help ‘Abo Omar’,” said Karaki so they tried to take the badly wounded man to Jordan.  

“Sorrowfully, he died after bleeding for two days near the Jordanian border.”

Unlike wounded activists in northern Syria who are allowed to cross the Turkish border to receive medical care, Jordanian officials have prevented people wounded in southern Syria from entering the country through the last six months of 2016 until now.  

“The chief of the Justice Court in Horan, the local court which rules the free area, said that they have been doing their best to protect the local people,” Karaki told Orient Net.

“He said they were able to arrest many gangsters and terrorists through 2016 and have also requested opposition groups in the area to take the necessary measures to avoid such incidents in the coming days,” he added.

But after the regime celebrated its recent victory over the opposition in east Aleppo and the forced displacement of thousands of the area’s residents, they are once again intensifying their efforts in the areas surrounding Damascus to start off the New Year.  

Yet, in spite of the difficulties faced by media activists in the southern areas of Syria, they persist in continuing their work with courage and determination. Against all odds, they will make sure their story gets told.

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