Smoke rises from a building in a Homs neighborhood. The city has been shelled daily for three weeks. (Reuters)
Smoke rises from a building in a Homs neighborhood. The city has been shelled daily for three weeks. (Reuters)

In Syria, fourth journalist killed in past week

New York, February 27, 2012A Syrian videographer who documented unrest in the besieged city of Homs was killed in a mortar attack on Friday, according to news reports. Anas al-Tarsha is the fourth media fatality in Syria in the past week. 

Homs has been shelled daily for three weeks, with hundreds killed and thousands injured, according to news reports. Al-Tarsha, 17, was filming the bombardment in Qarabees, a district in Homs under heavy attack, when a mortar shell fell and killed him instantly, news reports said.

Al-Tarsha regularly filmed clashes and military movements, and posted the videos on YouTube, news reports said. The videographer, also known as “Anas al-Homsi,” had been interviewed by Arabic broadcasters for information about fatalities and attacks on the city. His footage also appeared on the sites of citizen news organizations, according to news reports.

“At extraordinary risk, Syrians such as Anas al-Tarsha have picked up their cameras to document for the rest of the world the devastation caused by the government’s ongoing attacks,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Syrian authorities have done everything they can to shut down news coverage of their actions. Anas al-Tarsha and other local videographers have given their lives to ensure that the Syrian government would not succeed.”

After the Syrian uprisings began last year, the government sought to impose a blackout on news coverage by controlling local media and expelling or denying entry to international journalists, CPJ research shows. International media have begun to rely heavily on footage shot by citizen journalists such as al-Tarsha. 

In all, eight journalists have been killed in Syria in the last four months, CPJ research shows. On Wednesday, two international journalists, Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, were killed in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs. A day earlier, another Syrian videographer, Rami al-Sayed, was killed in the same area.