Kamel abu al-Walid, a photographer for the Jarabulus Media Office, died from injuries sustained in a landmine explosion in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, on March 19, 2018, according to his employer, the Syrian Journalist Association, and the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
Al-Walid was covering the takeover of Afrin by Turkish forces and Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions when a landmine planted in an office building exploded next to him, according to Murat Mahli, the Jarabulus Media Office director, who spoke with witnesses. Mahli told CPJ that al-Walid died at the scene.
Mahli said that al-Walid had worked as a photographer for the Jarabulus Media Center since August 2016 when the center, which backs pro-opposition pro-Turkey forces, was established. The journalist primarily covered the humanitarian effects of the war on northern Syria.
Prior to working as a photojournalist, al-Walid was a member of the Free Syrian Army, according to Mahli. The Syrian Journalists Association told CPJ that al-Walid worked briefly for the FSA, but was not working for them at the time of his death. Photographs on al-Walid’s Facebook page and the Jarabulus Media Office’s account dating from December 2016 show him in military uniform next to a tank.
Turkish forces and FSA factions seized Afrin from the Kurdish People’s Protection Union (YPG) on March 18, 2018 after a two-month offensive, news reports stated. According to the London-based human rights organization Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 289 civilians and 2,015 fighters were killed during the operation.