Mohammed Zaher al-Shirqat, a Syrian journalist executed by the the Islamic State (ISIS). Photo: facebook
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Islamic State murdered five Syrian media activists as it continues its assault on the press, maintaining tight control of the message that comes out of regions under the terrorist group’s control.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has viewed a video released by ISIS in Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria. The video shows the execution of five media activists via five different, sadistic methods.
The militants also issued a warning that any journalists or media activists opposed to the group and working to reveal their crimes are not safe, even outside of Syria. They cite the killing of Mohammed Zaher al-Shirqat.
Shirqat worked for Halab Today TV, an independent satellite channel from Aleppo. He was shot in the neck at close range on the street in the Turkish city of Gaziantep in early April. He had previously received death threats from ISIS, who claimed responsibility for his murder.
The United States condemned the killing. “Freedom of the press, including ensuring that journalists can safely report on the crisis in Syria, remains critical as reporters keep working to expose the truth about this brutal conflict and Daesh’s atrocities,” reads a statement issued by John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson for the US state department. “[W]e stand ready to support Turkey as it works to bring to justice those responsible for attacks on the media.”
The five media activists killed in Deir Ezzor were executed on charges of “acting against the Islamic State, communicating with outside parties and receiving funds, and other charges,” reported the Observatory on Sunday.
The Islamic State has murdered at least three other journalists in Turkey. The media advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) has urged Turkey to “take whatever measures are necessary to guarantee the security of Syrian exile journalists.”