Helping you #QuestionMore: RT reporting from the line of fire
As we mark 10 years with you, we compile stories of some dangerous situations and close calls RT correspondents have faced over the years. With Syria looking set to start another deadly chapter in its war, it is only fitting we start there.
On October 27, RT correspondent Lizzie Phelan found herself in a pressure-cooker situation near the capital, Damascus. The crew was en route from Harasta to Jobar to film when their plans were disrupted by grenades launched from an unknown location in what was clearly a targeted attack.
Another deadly threat was faced by RT's Roman Kosarev, RT Arabic’s Sargon Hadaya and a TASS journalist as an anti-tank shell hit their convoy in the vicinity of the border with Turkey. They have since recovered, having received only mild injuries.
In 2013, RT’s Maria Finoshina was caught in crossfire as she was reporting from the village of Maaloula, north of Damascus, which was suddenly attacked by Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants. Maria and the RT crew found themselves in the heart of the battle with bullets flying around them, but the journalists managed to successfully leave the settlement without sustaining any injuries.
Not too long before that, our own Paula Slier braved the streets of the West Bank – an area that has broken every record in the last two centuries for time spent under the constant specter of violence. Our crew ended up in the midst of a gas attack by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), as it widened its focus from Palestinians to journalists and paramedics as well.
Continuing in the same twisted trend, RT Arabic found itself a target of stun grenades, again, at the hands of the IDF, as it covered Palestinian Land Day demonstrations in Nablus in the West Bank in March of this year.
Over in Ukraine, RT’s Murad Gazdiev and crew found themselves in the center of a heated mortar fire exchange at the volatile Donetsk Airport – the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the conflict, which lasted months before an eventual ceasefire eased up the tension somewhat - though it never brought hostilities to a complete halt.
As the riots in Kiev reignited in late February of 2014, following a tentative peace between the government and opposition, our crew with correspondent Alexey Yaroshevky found themselves a target of sniper fire. Despite investigation data suggesting the shots came from the rioters occupying a nearby hotel, and targeted police and the crowds in the streets alike, the mainstream news spin placed the fault strictly with Berkut – Kiev’s former special police units that were dispersing people when Maidan took place.
And then there’s the nail-biting moment near the city of Uglegorsk in war-torn eastern Ukraine, where an RT news crew came under sniper fire in February of this year.
Three years ago, as Egypt began to spin out of control during clashes between protesters and police, our crew once again faced harm. A crew from RT Arabic was caught in a cloud of tear gas, following a football match in Port Said. The protesters then accused the military of deliberately stirring up violence in order to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.
Next up, we travel to the ruins of one of the most cherished heritage sites in the world that experienced first-hand the unforgiving cruelty of Islamic State (IS/ISIS, formerly ISIL) to any form of belief other than its own. In direct line of sight of the terrorists, Lizzie Phelan and the crew took up a position just outside the city of Palmyra. With the terrorists weakened by Russian airstrikes, the Syrian Army readied a campaign to retake the prized landmark.