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Members Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces stand guard near destroyed buildings in eastern Ghouta on April 2, 2018. Two members of a Turkish-funded militant group on March 21, 2018, attacked a Syrian cameraperson as he was covering the arrival of refugee convoys from eastern Ghouta, according to reports. (Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)

Syrian journalist attacked covering arrival of Ghouta evacuees in Hama

April 6, 2018 10:01 AM ET

Two members of the Turkish-funded militant group Ahrar al-Sham on March 31, 2018, attacked Syrian photographer and cameraperson Mohammed Hussein Obeid, also known as Abu Fahd al-Shami, while he was covering the arrival of refugee convoys from eastern Ghouta to the northwestern Hama province, according to the Syrian Journalists Association and Obeid.

Obeid, who works for the pro-opposition news website Assi Press, told CPJ he was in Hama province's Qalaat al-Madiq city shooting video of the journey when the two Ahrar al-Sham members rushed toward him.

"One of [the militants] snatched my video camera, took out the memory card where I had stored footage documenting crimes and violations committed by the Assad regime forces in the province of Hama, and without previous warning or questions smashed both of them brutally breaking both," Obeid said. The journalist posted a picture to his Facebook page that shows his broken camera and its display screen that no longer works.

Obeid told CPJ that he was not harmed by the militants and that he filed a complaint with Ahrar al-Sham to get compensation for his broken equipment.

The militant group is opposed to the pro-President Bashar Assad forces, according to news reports.

Obeid has been covering the humanitarian effects of the war in Hama province since 2014 as a member of the pro-opposition Hama Media Office and since July 2017 as a correspondent for Assi Press, which supports the Free Syrian Army rebel group.

Thousands of civilians have been fleeing eastern Ghouta since Assad-aligned forces and allies began a military offensive in February 2018 to retake this rebel-held enclave outside Damascus, according to news reports.

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