Ahmed, an Egyptian photojournalist for Xinhua News Agency, died on June 20 from bullet wounds he sustained while covering the Syrian presidential elections on June 4, Xinhua reported.
Xinhua said Ahmed was suspected to have been hit in the head by a bullet fired by supporters of Bashar al-Assad who were celebrating the president’s re-election.
It is not clear if the gunfire that killed Ahmed originated from Syria’s armed forces, a pro-government militia, or armed civilians.
Multiple news outlets reported celebratory gunfire erupting across the country after news came out al-Assad had won the country’s presidential election with nearly 89 percent of the vote. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least three civilians were killed that day and dozens more injured by the gunfire.
Xinhua said Ahmed joined the agency’s Middle East bureau in 2010 and had covered news across the region, including in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, and Sudan. The agency said Ahmed had been married only two months before his death. On June 21, 2014, the day after the journalist died, his body was returned to Egypt, news reports said.
On April 29, 2014, a few weeks before the election, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that President al-Assad had “called on all Syrian citizens not to use gunfire to express happiness for any occasion.” The article, as of June 23, 2014, was no longer available on SANA’s website.
CPJ research shows that gunfire into the air can be deadly for journalists covering celebrations, protests, and funerals. Less than a year before Ahmed’s death, Baghdad TV correspondent Wadih al-Hamdani was killed when a mourner at a funeral in Basra, Iraq fired a gun into the air.