Wednesday 24.1.2018 in Latest Developments in Syria Country Page
As previously covered on the CIVICUS Monitor, concerns have mounted over an increase in civilian casualties in Idlib under the “repressive measures” adopted by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (Al Qaeda in Syria). On 10th January 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, expressed serious concern over the devastating impact of clashes between Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the government of Bashar Al-Assad and its allies on the two million residents in Idlib province, which remains outside the Syrian government's control at the moment.
With Syrian forces pressing from the south, Turkish ones from the north, the 2M+ civilians crammed into Idlib province are being dangerously squeezed. https://t.co/nkm8LzQZAe— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) January 24, 2018
Journalists killed, injured and arrested
Freedom of expression continues to be severely threatened in Syria as the conflict continues. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, on 11th January 2018 two journalists were injured in airstrikes. Abdulkadir al-Bakri, a correspondent for the pro-opposition Qasioun News Agency in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, and Abdulkadir Al-Abdo, a reporter for pro-opposition Al-Jisr TV, were injured while covering clashes in Idlib.
According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), in 2017 42 media workers were killed, 47 injured and a further 93 arrested or in some cases abducted in Syria. In December 2017, the SNHR reported the killing of two media workers and the arrest of four others.
In December 2017, according to a statement released by over two dozen Syrian civil society organisations, including the Syrian Journalists Association and the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, four media activists were recently arrested by members of Haya’at Tahrir Al-Sham. The dates of their detention are listed below:
- On 10th December 2017, freelance journalist and activist Hossam Mahmoud and activist Hassan Younis were arrested in Idlib.
- On 12th December 2017, activist Bakr Younis, brother of Hassan Younis, was arrested
- On 13th December 2017, activist Amjad Abdulaziz Al-Maleh was arrested.
A joint statement released on 8th January 2018 and signed by 27 local civil society organisations drew attention to the four journalists' efforts and called for their release. The press statement read:
"The four are prominent activists in their area and had a wide impact in exposing abuses by Syrian government forces and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah during the siege of Madaya. At a time when there was a siege on the city, these activists contributed to broadcasting the situation to outside and support to civilians in all ways they could, despite the harsh conditions..."