Al-Deeri, a correspondent working for Al-Jazeera’s Arabic website, Aljazeera.net, was killed covering clashes between rebel and government forces in Syria’s Daraa province, the outlet reported. Al-Deeri was the fourth journalist to die covering fighting in and around the village of Sheikh Miskeen in three days.
Al-Deeri was killed when his car collided with a vehicle of rebel fighters, Al-Jazeera reported citing the journalist’s family. Al-Deeri had been driving with his headlights off to avoid being targeted by government fire, the report said.
It is not clear if, at the time of the crash, al-Deeri’s car or nearby rebel forces were being fired on. An Al-Jazeera spokesman, reached for comment by CPJ, said the network could not immediately offer further details.
On December 8, a car carrying an Orient TV crew was hit in the same area by what the station said was a guided missile fired by government forces. Three journalists were killed. The car was not marked as a press vehicle, but Orient News said it was identifiable because it was carrying a large satellite dish that should have been easily visible. CPJ could not independently verify the claim that a missile directly targeted the car.
At the time of al-Deeri’s death, clashes between rebel and government forces had been ensuing in Sheikh Miskeen for weeks. A month before the killing, Al-Jazeera correspondent Mohammed Nour was shot in the foot while covering clashes in Sheikh Miskeen, the station reported.
Al-Deeri, 31, was born in Sheikh Miskeen and studied at Damascus University, Al-Jazeera reported. According to Al-Jazeera and his Facebook profile, al-Deeri used to work for the government news agency, SANA. After the start of the Syrian conflict, he began working as an independent journalist in Daraa province. He began freelancing for Al-Jazeera in October 2013. In November 2014, al-Deeri wrote for Al-Jazeera Arabic about the retreat of government forces after rebels captured a strategic position just outside of Sheikh Miskeen.