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Syria: journalist shot in opposition-held territory

Bahaa Al-Halabi [Screengrab/Syria TV]
Syrian journalist Bahaa Al-Halabi [Screengrab/Syria TV]

A Syrian journalist has been shot by unidentified gunmen in the north-west province of Aleppo. The attack took place on Wednesday evening.

Bahaa Al-Halabi works as a correspondent for Turkey-based opposition media outlet Syria TV. He was targeted by masked men as he left his home in the centre of the city of Al-Bab.

According to a statement by Syria TV, Al-Halabi is in hospital with bullet wounds to his hand, shoulder and chest, but he remains in a stable condition. He awaits surgery on his wounds.

According to his brother Mahmoud, this was not the first time that the journalist has been attacked. He was targeted in a previous assassination attempt which resulted in bullet wounds close to his heart.

"We at Syria TV condemn this criminal act," said Al-Halabi's employer, "whereby a loyal and upstanding colleague who is always seeking to fulfil his duties as a journalist has been targeted. This act signifies a direct targeting of media outlets and journalists working to report groundbreaking news and cover updates inside Syria."

READ: They risked their lives to show the horrors of war. Where are Syria's journalists now?

It is not yet known which individual or group targeted Al-Halabi in an area under the control of Turkish-backed Syrian opposition factions. However, it comes amid a rising trend of journalists and media workers being arrested, detained and at times killed by armed groups who object to their critical reporting.

The attempted assassination comes weeks after another Syrian media figure, Hussein Khattab, was shot dead by unidentified militants, also in Al-Bab. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least four journalists were killed in Syria last year.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) identified Syria as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and amongst the worst for press freedom. "Journalists are the targets of intimidation by all parties to the conflict," said RSF.

READ: HTS releases Syria media activist after 4 months of detention

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