Vedat Erdemci, a Kurdish Turkish documentary filmmaker and freelance video journalist, was killed in a Turkish airstrike on the northeastern Syrian city of Ras al-Ain on October 11 while he was filming airstrikes near his home, according to news reports, Erdemci’s friend Hivda Gever, who spoke to CPJ via phone, and the Free Media Union a local journalists syndicate supportive of the People’s Protection Units militant group.
Gever, a Kurdish Turkish businesswoman who was a close friend of Erdemci, told CPJ that Erdemci was filming Turkish warplanes flying over Ras al-Ain from the street where he lived when the airstrike hit.
“We thought they wouldn’t bomb civilian areas and they still hit us. Vedat was doing his work. He was filming. We were on our own street. There was another woman nearby who was also killed in the airstrike,” said Gever, who said she was also injured in the strike.
At the time he was killed, Erdemci had been working on a documentary film about Yazidi children and women freed from Islamic State custody by the Syrian Democratic Forces, and had traveled to Ras al-Ain to finish producing the documentary with filmmaker Teymur Evidke, according to Evidke and Begin Sido, co-chair of the Free Media Union, who both spoke to CPJ via phone.
Erdemci left his family in Turkey to work as a journalist in Kobane, Syria, in 2014, Evidke said. He had worked as a videographer for the local news agency Hawar News and broadcaster Ronahi TV, Sido told CPJ.