Al-Zabi was shot in the chest by a sniper while covering clashes between the Syrian army and rebel forces in the neighborhood of Tafas in the southern city of Daraa, according to regional and local news outlets.
It was not immediately clear if al-Zabi was targeted by a sniper affiliated with the Syrian regime, or was shot by a gunman on the side of the rebel forces.
Al-Zabi was a third-year dental student at Damascus University, but left his studies to become a journalist and expose abuses committed by the government, according to his mother who spoke to the pro-opposition TV outlet Tafas News. He regularly filmed clashes between the army and rebel forces in the neighborhood of Tafas and contributed to several local news outlets including Tafas News, according to news reports.
With an effective ban on foreign journalists and with local media neutralized, international media relied heavily on reporting and footage shot by al-Zabi and other citizen journalists.