Ibrahim al-Munjar, a correspondent for the Syrian news website Sy24, was shot and killed in the city of Saida in the southern Syrian province of Daraa on the morning of May 17, 2018, according to his employer, news reports, and the Syrian Journalists Association.
At least one of two men riding a motorcycle past al-Munjar’s house in Saida shot the journalist, hitting him in the neck and killing him instantly, according to news reports and Ghaith Hammour, Sy24 editor-in-chief. Al-Munjar was alone when he was shot; no one else was injured in the shooting, Hammour told CPJ.
Hammour told CPJ that al-Munjar began working for Sy24 six months before his death and that he covered social and humanitarian issues. The journalist’s last story was about an award ceremony for outstanding students in the Daraa countryside.
Prior to joining Sy24, al-Munjar worked for other Syrian outlets, including the Shaam News Network and the SMART News Agency, that criticized and documented alleged war violations by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Hammour said that al-Munjar had also covered clashes between the Free Syrian Army and Islamic State militants in Daraa province.
Hammour told CPJ that al-Munjar began receiving threats via phone and social media from anonymous sources who said they were affiliated with the Islamic State militant group in 2016 and that the threats continued until his death. As a safety precaution, al-Munjar moved from his native Tal Shihab to Saida in 2016 after the threats began.
Hammour added that no group has claimed responsibility for the death of al-Munjar and believes that the journalist was most likely targeted because of his job.
At the time of al-Munjar’s killing, Daraa was under the control of rebel groups including Jaysh Khaled Ibn al-Waleed, which is loosely affiliated with the Islamic State militant group, according to the London-based human rights organization Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The outskirts of Saida were shelled in March and April 2018 by Assad-aligned forces and their Hezbollah allies during clashes with the Free Syrian Army, according to news reports. In mid-February, a member of the Free Syrian Army was killed and a senior official was injured when their car hit an improvised explosive device in Saida. The Jaysh Khaled Ibn al-Waleed and the Assad forces were both suspected of in the attack, news reports said.
In May 2018, the Syrian government and its allies were preparing an offensive on Daraa, according to news reports.