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Al-Jazeera reporter killed by Russian air strike in Syria


This statement was originally published on on 12 July 2016.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is saddened to learn that Ibrahim Al-Omar, 38, a Syrian reporter for Al-Jazeera, was killed yesterday while covering a Russian air strike on Tarmanin, a town near the northwestern city of Idlib. RSF condemns the many obstacles to freedom of information that exist in Syria and the extreme violence to which journalists are repeatedly exposed in the course of their work.

A native of the suburbs of Aleppo, Ibrahim Al-Omar was working for Al-Jazeera Mubasher, an Arabic-language live news feed channel operated by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Media Network.

“We deplore the unacceptable conditions in which media personnel continue to work in Syria and which often result in their deaths,” RSF said. “Journalists are targeted, harassed and killed while just covering events. We firmly condemn the indiscriminate air strikes and bombardments that kill many civilians every day and often include journalists among the victims.”

In a communiqué, Al-Jazeera noted that many of its employees have been killed while covering the conflict in Syria. The most recent previous Al-Jazeera victim was Zakaria Ibrahim, a 19-year-old cameraman who was killed in the northern outskirts of Homs in December 2015 during a bombardment by government forces.

RSF supports a lawsuit that has just been filed with a court in Washington accusing President Bashar al-Assad's government of deliberately murdering US reporter Marie Colvin in Homs in 2012.

Ranked 177th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Syria is one of the world's deadliest countries for journalists. According to RSF's tally, around 200 journalists and citizen journalists have been killed in Syria since the start of the conflict in March 2011 – six of them this year.

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