The Syrian Centre for Journalistic Freedoms said it has documented the killing of 463 journalists and media professionals in Syria between March 2011 and March 2022.
“With the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, the Syrian regime embarked on a systematic campaign with the aim of eliminating any loophole that Syrian and foreign media professionals might exploit to convey to the world a picture of what is going on in the country,” the centre said in a report marking World Press Freedom Day.
It added that it had documented 1,435 violations against media professionals between March 2011 and March 2022 where killing ranked first in terms of the number of documented violations.
Other violations included injuries, beatings, arrests amongst others.
In a rare phenomenon, considered the first since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, the centre said no violation of media professionals was documented in Syria during the months of March and April 2022, while one murder was perpetrated in February.
It noted that the largest percentage of killings was committed in 2013, with 110 cases, explaining that the Assad regime has killed 315 media professionals, followed by Daesh with 61 killings, Russia with 24 killings, the Syrian opposition with ten killings, and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham with three killings.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia was responsible for killing two media workers. The organisation said it was unable to indenting who was responsible for the murder of 47 others.
According to the report, the victims included seven Syrian and foreign females, as well as 33 media workers who had died as a result of torture in the Syrian regime’s prisons and detention centres while the fate of other detained media professionals remains unknown.
The report documents the killing of 20 foreign media professionals in Syria since March 2011, nine of them were killed in 2012, three in 2013, four in 2014, three in 2015 and one in 2017. Seven of the victims were killed by Syrian regime forces, seven by Daesh while the killers of six victims remain unknown.
The killings were committed across all the Syrian governorates, however, Aleppo witnessed the most deaths with 107 cases, followed by the Damascus countryside governorate with 91 cases, Daraa governorate with 60 cases, Homs governorate with 52 cases and Idlib governorate with 40 cases. Five Syrian media professionals have been killed outside Syria since 2011, four in Turkey and one in Lebanon.