Sky News Arabic crew attacked in Syria

Syrian security forces assaulted and briefly detained a Sky News Arabic crew on Monday, April 8, 2013, according to correspondent Khalil al-Hamlu. In a live broadcast, al-Hamlu said his crew was reporting on a car bomb in central Damascus when Syrian security forces confronted the group. The crew were beaten and detained for a few hours before being released without serious injuries.

Al-Hamlu said security forces evidently mistakenly believed the crew was reporting for the Saudi-owned news network Al-Arabiya. Al-Arabiya, as well as Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera, is widely viewed as supportive of the revolution in Syria. CPJ has condemned a plan by a pro-Assad Kuwaiti businessman to pay a bounty of 10 million Syrian liras (about US$95,000) to anyone who helped arrest al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera journalists.

The regional media watchdog SKeyes said photographer Mazen Haffar and photography assistant Omar Jazari were also detained, citing al-Hamlu’s Facebook page. The assault and detention occurred in front of citizens, officials, security guards, soldiers, and fellow journalists reporting on the explosion, al-Hamlu posted, according to SKeyes.