Sky News journalists came under fire from a Syrian military drone yesterday in what is said to be a deliberate attack by the Assad regime. The dramatic attack captured on video, shows journalist Alex Crawford and her camera crew fleeing to their car to escape the shelling.
The teams were in the south of Idlib province, the last Syrian opposition stronghold, reporting on the violence which has escalated in the region. The UN is warning of a humanitarian crisis as a result of the increased attacks.
The footage of the drone attack shows Crawford and her team running desperately through the cover of smoke to escape the shelling. It’s alleged that the journalists were tracked as they tried to escape. The attack on the team, who were clearly marked as “press”, has prompted the allegation that it was intentional.
“We were spotted by a military drone and then repeatedly shot at with what we believe were 125mm shells probably fired from a T-72 Russian battle tank,” Crawford said. “As we retreated to leave the area, the targeting of us continued.”
One of the civilian activists who fled with the Sky team is Bilal Abdul Kareem. The American journalist has been covering the Syrian civil war for three years. He was hit by shrapnel in the side of his chest however the footage shows that the injury was not fatal.
Kareem was placed on a US kill list and, while there is no suggestion that this attack was targeting the civilian activist, he has managed to escape five attempted assassinations.
Crawford’s team of four came under intense bombardment when a Syrian military drone spotted them in the town of Al-Habit. The area in the Idlib countryside is in a buffer zone between opposition and government forces and is meant to be battle-free.
Since 25 April, continuous air strikes by the Syrian regime and its allies on the de-escalation zone in Idlib have resulted in the killing and injuring of hundreds of civilians, as well as the displacement of tens of thousands of Syrians from their homes.
Thirty-one United Nations (UN) humanitarian trucks yesterday crossed into the Syrian province where about 700,000 people are said to have fled after relentless attacks over recent weeks.