Abdullah Sobhi al-Ghazawi

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Al-Ghazawi, also known as Abdullah al-Rais, was a
videographer for the local SMART News Agency. He
was killed on his way to cover clashes in the southern city of Daraa on
November 8, 2013, according to news reports and a local media center. He was a
member of the Daraa Media Union (DMU), an umbrella organization that helps
coordinate coverage of local events by opposition media centers in Daraa.

Jawad al-Musalama, the chairman of the DMU, told CPJ that
al-Ghazawi had returned to his office after filming clashes in Tariq al-Sadd on
the day of his death. When he was on his way back to the front line to continue
filming the battle, he was hit by missile shrapnel in his heart, leg, and hand,
killing him instantly.

Al-Musalama told CPJ that al-Ghazawi was one of the
co-founders of the Local
Committees of the City of Daraa
, an organization that coordinates civil
services in the area, and worked as the head of the organization’s media office
in Tariq al-Sadd, filming local events. When the DMU was established,
al-Musalama said, it incorporated the Local Committees’ media office in Tariq
al-Sadd under its umbrella, and al-Ghazawi continued his reporting as a member
of the DMU and head of the Tariq al-Sadd office.

Al-Ghazawi’s videos for SMART in the days before his death
showed intense fighting,
smoke rising from
random shelling and
aircraft bombing raids,
and graphic videos of
injured victims. Video
reports by SMART News Agency have previously been aired on international news
networks, such as Al-Jazeera.

Al-Ghazawi uploaded much of his footage on his personal YouTube page, which
has almost 900 videos and has garnered nearly 350,000 views. The page includes
a video of the body of citizen journalist Muhammad
Hassan al-Musalama
, who was killed in Daraa several months earlier while
heading to cover clashes, according to CPJ research. Graphic videos posted the day
before his death show victims
of random shelling as
well as the sound of gunfire.

Several photos of al-Ghazawi from his personal Facebook page
seen by CPJ show al-Ghazawi with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder as he
is filming. Al-Ghazawi’s Facebook page is no longer publicly available. Jawad al-Musalama,
who is also pictured in the photos, told CPJ that al-Ghazawi was not a
combatant and that he was posing with the rifle while filming the Sweidan
Market in Daraa. Any non-combatant, including journalists, who take part in
hostilities lose their protective status, according to the Geneva