A bus carries rebels and their families who left Douma, at the entrance of the Wafideen camp in Damascus, Syria April 12, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)

Three Russian journalists injured by gunfire in eastern Ghouta, Syria

April 13, 2018 6:13 PM ET

Three journalists were injured when a bus carrying Russian media came under fire from unknown assailants in the Syrian city of Douma, 16 kilometers (10 miles) away from Damascus, in the eastern Ghouta region on April 11, 2018, according to news reports and the journalists' employers.

Aleksei Ivliyev, correspondent for the broadcaster NTV, which is owned by Russian state oil giant Gazprom; Mikhail Vitkin, cameraperson for state-owned broadcaster Rossiya-1; and Vladislav Dodonov, cameraperson for the Russian Defense Ministry's broadcaster Zvezda TV, all sustained light leg wounds in the attack, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry and news reports.

"All the journalists were promptly provided with the necessary medical assistance," the statement said. "There is no immediate threat to their lives and they have been transferred to a hospital for treatment."

Valentin Trushin, correspondent for the private Russian broadcaster REN TV who was also in the bus, said that shooting began after a dispute between civilians and militants escalated, the Russian state-owned television network RT reported. "The militants fired erratically and hit our bus," Trushin said, though did not specify which militants.

A video by Zvezda TV correspondent Alexei Golovko showed the bus in which he said the journalists had been riding that had bullet holes through the windscreen and the left side. One of the tires was blown out.

Russian forces allied with President Bashar al-Assad entered Douma on April 11, 2018, to facilitate an agreement between Syrian government forces and the militant group Jaish al-Islam, which controlled the city, news reports said.

Under the deal, Jaish al-Islam agreed to allow Syrian government forces to take over the city and to release prisoners and hostages to the forces in exchange for being allowed to relocate to northern Syria, the reports stated.

Since Assad-aligned forces began a military offensive in February 2018 to retake eastern Ghouta, two Syrian journalists have been killed and one was injured, according to CPJ research.

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