Over the past week, it has been confirmed that citizen journalist, Fatima Khaled Saad, and media spokesperson Anas al-Ahmed are the latest media workers to lose their lives in the ongoing conflict gripping Syria.
Twenty-two-year-old Saad, who worked as a citizen journalists under the adopted name Farah El Rayes, was arrested along with her brother and father on June 28, when a number of her belongings were confiscated, including her camera.
Despite undergoing physical and psychological torture at the hands of the Syrian security forces, Saad reportedly refused to identify activists in her photographs and a video who were carrying the Free Syrian Army flag and chanting slogans against the Assad regime.
Safeworld explained that they had been trying to find out details of Saad’s whereabouts after she was reportedly rushed to Latakia military hospital as a result of injuries sustained under torture. A statement on their site confirmed that they were eventually able to confirm that Saad had passed away at a Damascus branch of the General Security Directorate on October 23.
According to a tribute on Woman Unveiled:
“As a qualified nurse, she was known in her poverty stricken suburb for her kindness and generosity. When Assad’s forces initiated the crackdown, she volunteered to teach other residents in the city basic first aid training. Her help was essential especially after regime forces destroyed the community’s only public clinic.”
The Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights condemned the regime’s continued use of torture, saying that there have now been 1,125 documented cases of people being killed under torture by the regime’s security forces.
Killed at a funeral
On the same day, October 23, Anas al-Ahmed lost his life during an attack on a funeral service taking place at the Zaitouneh mosque.
In a service for activists who had already lost their lives, al-Ahmed was among mourners who were attacked.
The 18-year-old had been working as a spokesperson for the Revolutionary Council, and had already been detained by regime forces earlier in the conflict.
Doha Centre for Media Freedom has been compiling a death toll for journalists and citizen journalists who have been killed throughout the conflict, which currently stands at 76.
The centre has consistently repeated calls for regime and rebel forces to protect the safety of journalists and has condemned the ongoing targeting of media workers, in the strongest possible terms.
Sources: AFP, Safeworld