Abdullah Mohammad Ghannam, a correspondent for Shahba Press Agency, was killed by an airstrike on a hospital in Kafr Hamra, on Aleppo’s northern outskirts, on July 14, 2016, while filming the aftermath of a previous airstrike, Mamoun al-Khatib, the director of Shahba Press Agency, told the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Al-Khatib confirmed that Ghannam was in the Kafr Hamra hospital filming the aftermath of the airstrikes when a second airstrike hit the hospital. Al-Khatib told the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an independent human rights organization, that Ghannam was severely injured from the second strike and suffered from fractured bones and internal bleeding. He was rushed to hospital but succumbed to his injuries and died within an hour.
According to the Syrian American Medical Society, a humanitarian organization providing healthcare in Syria, the hospital was completely destroyed, five medical personnel were killed, and four medical staff and a number of patients were injured by the airstrikes in Kafr Hamra on that day. Local reports also said several civilians, including medical staff, were killed in the strikes.
Al-Khatib shared with CPJ some samples of Ghannam’s work for the Shahba Press Agency, saying he often filmed on-site interviews and covered the aftermath of bombings. On the day of his death, Ghannam had reported that there was severe shelling in the Hraytan neighborhood north of Aleppo, close to Kafr Hamra. “He was our main correspondent covering all the events in the [area],” Al-Khatib said.
The Shahba Press Agency, and the Violations Documentation Center in Syria both accused Russia of carrying out the airstrikes on Kafr Hamra hospital. The Russian Defense Ministry has not responded to a request for comment CPJ sent by email on October 6, 2016.
This is the second death of a Shahba Press Agency correspondent. In October 2015, CPJ reported the death of Jomaa al-Ahmad who was killed by an airstrike in Hayan, Aleppo province, while filming for the outlet.
On its website, Shahba Press Agency commemorated Ghannam’s dedication to documenting the war.
Shahba press agency was established in 2013 in Aleppo and describes itself as a neutral news agency, run by Syrian journalists, and unaffiliated with any government or political party. Ghannam was one of the founding members of the Shahba Press Agency in early 2013, al-Khatib said.