London – CAGE demands answers into recent air strikes against an US journalist and his team in Syria. Countries using targeted assassinations in Syria must immediately halt their actions, come clean and identify themselves.
US journalist, Bilal Abdul Kareem, was reporting a series on Ramadan from inside Syria. On Sunday, the car in which Abdul Kareem was driving with his team in the Aleppo countryside was struck by a missile believed to be from a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) , while enroute to interview a member of the rebel forces about a recent victory over regime forces. There were no fatalities reported.
Earlier this morning, an airstrike caused the death of three civilians outside Abdul Kareem’s media office.
This appears to be the fourth failed attack against Abdul Kareem and his team who produce the YouTube series, ‘Face the Truth’. At the beginning of Ramadan, an airstrike destroyed their offices and two weeks ago, another air strike, pre-empted by a smoke signal in the area where they were working, narrowly missed members of their reporting team.
Abdul Kareem’s exclusive interviews with rebel fighters have not only been aired on YouTube, but have been used and accredited by CNN, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 News.
Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director, said:
“We do not know at this stage which country is responsible for the drone attack, but it is believed that Russia, Iran, the UK and the US have been operating UAVs in the region. The fact remains that the United States has set an example of impunity when it comes to drone strikes, and other countries are following suit. Targeting journalists in this way is a war crime.
“Bilal is one of the only accredited journalists in Syria reporting in English on the ground. His material has been widely used by mainstream media and he has become a powerful voice for the voiceless in the Syrian war. ”
Bilal Abdul Kareem, Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker told CAGE:
“The car was totally destroyed and there was shrapnel everywhere. I was just glad my team were okay and nobody was dead. It was only Allah that made me wear the bulletproof vest that day, as usually it’s hot and I don’t wear it.”
“People ask whether I am connected to any particular group. It’s natural, unfortunately, that people want to place everyone in categories. I report on all the groups here in Syria, including those who want Islamic solutions. They are the major force in these Syrian territories. To not report on them would be clear bias in itself.”
“I don’t care if you like Nusra, Assad or Obama. I only bring you the news so you can make an informed decision. I don’t see a lot of other journalists around. I plan to continue doing the work we are doing. I’m not going to roll over and play dead for anybody.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)