IDLIB / ANKARA
Journalists in Syria, trying to document crimes committed by the Bashar al-Assad regime, are routinely killed or injured.
The Arab country is undergoing a civil war since 2011 when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.
Abdulkadir Bekri, an independent journalist, started covering peaceful demonstrations in Idlib, northwestern Syria, in 2011. Since then, he has seen bombardments, migration of civilians and the continuous suffering of the people.
Bekri said he was affected by a chemical attack by the regime in Khan Shaykhun in April 2017.
“We went to the scene to document the attack… it was sarin gas, and even standing for six seconds at the scene was unbearable,” he told Anadolu Agency. “First my friend Abed Kantar was affected. After I took him to the hospital, I was also taken ill, and remained unconscious in intensive care for two days. My family told me I had continuous seizures.”
He said media workers who tried to document on-the-ground situation were subjected to threats and were even killed, but added that he will continue to expose the regime, even at the cost of his life.
Saif Abdullah, a freelance journalist in the city of Hama who hurt his leg, said many journalists were targeted and detained at the beginning of the civil war.
He said they were bombarded in 2017. “Our friend Abu Yazid died. I and my three of my other friends were injured,” he said. “The injury negatively affected both my professional and personal life.”
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and millions more displaced in the Syrian conflict to date.
709 journalists dead, 1,571 injured
At least 709 media workers, 551 of them by the regime forces, were killed between March 2011 and now, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
While nine of those who died were foreign press members, at least 1,571 media workers were also injured in the line of duty during this period.
Of the 1,183 media workers detained, 427 are still waiting for their release.
Four journalists associated with Anadolu Agency have also lost their lives.
*Writing by Dilara Hamit
Copyright 2021 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.