Ali Abbas

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Abbas, head of domestic news at the state-run SANA news agency, was killed by unidentified gunmen at his home in the Jdaidat Artouz District of Damascus, according to his employer.

SANA said he was killed by "armed terrorist groups" as part of a campaign to silence government-aligned media, but the agency provided no further details. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that unidentified gunmen shot Abbas in his home, according to news reports.

Al-Nusra Front, an armed Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for Abbas' killing in an August 17 statement. The claim could not be independently corroborated. Abbas, 42, was born in the coastal city of Latakia and earned a journalism degree from the University of Damascus, according to news reports.

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