Mouaz Alomar (Abu Mehdi Al Hamwi)

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Alomar was killed in an explosion from a bomb dropped by government forces in the Kafr Zita, a town north of the city of Hama in Hama governorate, according to his father, who spoke to CPJ, as well as the local rights groups Violations Documentation Center and the Syrian Journalists Association.

Alomar was uploading footage of bombing from earlier in the day when a barrel bomb ripped through the building, according to Alomar’s father, Abdurrahman Alomar, who cited survivors of the attack. Alomar’s father, a pediatrician for the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association who lives in Turkey, provided photos to CPJ of bombed-out buildings he said were taken by his son that day.

Alomar was a 17-year-old Syrian freelance photographer who was also known as Abu Mehdi Al Hamwi. His work had been published by multiple international and local outlets, including Reuters, Al-Arabiya, Orient News, and Syria Al Ghad. His work was also featured on Syrian social media sites, including the Lens Young Hamwi Facebook page, an online campaign dedicated to photography and news on the situation in Hama, and the media center for the Hama Revolutionaries Union, an opposition organization located in Hama. He also contributed to the End Polio campaign in Hama province. His work was available on his YouTube page.

In a statement released to CPJ, David Crundwell, head of corporate affairs for Thomson Reuters, said the agency had on one occasion picked up five of his photos, but that he was not employed by Reuters as a journalist or a stringer. CPJ found the five images on the Reuters site, all of which were taken on February 5, 2014.

The Hama Revolutionaries Union, a local organization that monitors and posts Hama-related news on its website, told CPJ that Alomar was a photographer for its media center. Mohanad al-Sayed Ali, head of news reporters of the Syrian opposition TV channel Orient, told CPJ that Alomar had collaborated on numerous stories for the station.

One Al-Arabiya employee who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity said that Alomar had done occasional, non-contractual work for the outlet during the early stages of the conflict. The employee did not offer further details. CPJ’s calls and messages to Al-Arabiya for official comment were not returned.

Alomar was arrested and charged with weapon possession in early April 2013, according to his father and the Syrian human rights group Violations Documentation Center. Alomar testified to the center that he was beaten repeatedly and told to confess he was carrying weapons, although he claimed he was not. In August 2013, a court released Alomar and dropped all charges against him citing lack of evidence, according to the center.

CPJ found eight photos of Alomar on a Facebook page created after his death, which showed him wielding automatic rifles. One caption reads that the picture was taken during military training for personal protection. It is not clear when those photos were taken, but they were posted after his death.

Alomar’s father and the Syrian Journalists Association told CPJ that Alomar had never been a combatant and did not belong to any armed groups.