In December 2019: 12 violations committed and HTS tops violators
With the end of 2019, violations against media in Syria continue, though, with variety in type and number in different months depending on the risks and circumstances surrounding the media work in different Syrian areas. The clashes in north-eastern Syria and restricting media freedoms are considered the main reasons for violations documented in December 2019.
The Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms (SCJF) documentedtwelve violations against media in Syria in December 2019.
Nine out of the twelve documented violations were committed in December while three violations were committed last October but documented by the SCJF after being verified according to the criteria and methodology of documentation
Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) topped those responsible for violations by committing seven violations in its policy of restricting media freedoms in the north of Syria. On the other hand, the armed Syrian oppositionand the Lebanese authorities are responsible for two violations eachand the Turkish authorities committed one violation.
The SCJF documented the injury of two media professionals and the detaining of one media professional.
Media professional Dilyar Ciziri was injured by the Syrian opposition’s artillery while he was doing media coverage of developments in the village of Um al-Keif in Hasaka’s Tal Tamr.
Also, media professional Fadel Hammad was injured by the opposition’s artillery in the village of Um Sh’aifa, north of Hasaka’s Tal Tamr.
As for violations against female journalists, media professional Zozan RamadanBerkel was injured by shrapnel of the Turkish army’ bullets while she was doing media coverage of people’s protests in Aleppo’s Ain al-Arab (Kobani) held against Turkish-Russian patrol. Consequently, the number of violations committed against female media professionals since mid-March 2011 has increased to 35 violations.
Also, HTS detained, for one day, media professional Muhammed Taher al-Mustafa while he was doing media coverage of the protest held near to Bab al-Hawa bordercrossing, north of Idlib.
The SCJF documented the hitting of media professionals Faisal al-Imam and Hafez Tirman by members of HTS while they were doing media coverage of the protest held close to Bab al-Hawa border crossing.
Furthermore, the SCJF documented in December 2019 the denial of media coverage committed by the Lebanese authorities against journalistAhmad al-Qasir and photographer Fadi Qarquz(aka Fadi Sony) without mentioning the reasonsfor the denial. On the other hand, HTS denied media coverage to media professionals Aref Watad, Muhammed Saeed, Anas Tracey and Mustafa Dahnon who were covering a protest held close to Bab al-Hawa border crossing.
As for geographical distributions, most violations were mainly in the north of Syria as Idlib witnessed 7 violations while Hasaka province witnessed 2, Aleppo witnessed one and Lebanon witnessed 2 violations.
Finally, on December 15, 2019, South African Journalist Shiraaz Muhammed managed to escape from captivity in Idlib after about 3 years of his capture, according to the South African Gift of the Givers relief group.