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Syrian journalist in Turkey survives second assassination attempt

Eye on the Homeland logo
Eye on the Homeland logo

The following statement was originally published on on 13 June 2016.

The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns the attempted assassination of Syrian journalist Ahmed Abd al-Qader in the southeastern Turkish town of Urfa. Sunday's attack on the journalist was the second in three months.

Two gunmen riding a motorbike shot Abd al-Qader, founder of the exiled Syrian news outlet Eye on the Homeland, three times, Eye on the Homeland said in a statement. Abd al-Qader is hospitalized, in stable condition, The Associated Press reported. The Islamic State group's Amaq news agency on Sunday claimed that the group had carried out the attack.

The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for killing Abd al-Qader's brother, Ibrahim, and his colleague, Fares Hamadi, in October 2015. In March 2016, two men ambushed Abd al-Qader outside his residence in Urfa, the journalist told CPJ at the time.

"Even in exile Syrian journalists are not safe if they dare to report on the Islamic State group," CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. "The Turkish security services should step up their efforts to protect all journalists in the country and ensure that vital news sources such as Eye on the Homeland can operate safely."

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for killing four journalists in Turkey, including Hamadi and Abd al-Qader's brother, Ibrahim, since October 2015. Syrian journalists working in Turkey have told CPJ on many occasions that they fear for their safety in the country.

"For media work, Turkey feels as dangerous as Syria these days," a Syrian journalist in southern Turkey told CPJ in January 2016.

Despite the dangers in Turkey, Syria remains the most dangerous place in the world to work as a journalist, according to CPJ research. On June 5, Syrian photojournalist Osama Jumaa was killed by Syrian government artillery fire in the northern city of Aleppo, his employer reported.

In December 2015, IFEX spoke to Ahmad to find out what motivates him to keep working despite the grave and often, fatal risk, involved. Read about it here.

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