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30 Jul, 2017 12:06

Journalist working with RT Arabic killed in Homs province of Syria during ISIS shelling

A journalist working with RT Arabic, Khaled Alkhateb, has been killed in shelling from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) side in the eastern suburb of Homs, Syria.

The journalist was filming a report on the Syrian Army’s operations against IS terrorists.

He and a Syrian Army official, who has not been identified yet, were killed in a rocket attack by Islamic State militants near a village called Bghailiyah, in Homs province, according to the head of RT Arabic’s office in Damascus, Abdelhameed Tawfiq.

Khaled Alkhateb was just 25 years old and had recently started to work with RT.

Today RT Arabic lost a young colleague, journalist Khaled Alkhateb. This is very painful news for all of us,” the head of RT Arabic, Maya Manna, said in a statement.

Saying that Khaled had just recently become a stringer for RT Arabic, Manna added that he had been on assignment to cover the Syrian Army fighting IS in the Homs region.

This morning, together with soldiers of the Syrian Army, he was heading to the town of al-Sukhnah, where heavy fighting is currently underway to free it. On their way there, not far from Homs, the convoy was attacked by IS militants,” she explained.

We express our condolences to family and friends of Khaled, and will support them in any way possible. We thank Khaled for his courage and bravery,” Manna said.

Khaled’s father, Gasan Alkhateb, told RT his son loved his work and was always ready to risk his life for the sake of telling the truth.

“I express gratitude to RT and his colleagues. This tragedy is our common tragedy. You were his second family. This is our destiny and we are proud of him. He was always a strong person. He never stopped of anything to convey the truth. Everybody, who knew him, knows this. Everybody knows what a person he was. He loved his homeland, his job and the Syrian people.”

Khaled lost his life in the fight for his homeland and against “those beasts from ISIS," he added.

The journalist appears to have last been online Sunday morning. Khaled’s last post on Facebook read, “Godspeed!” referring to the Syrian Army troops advancing against IS. It reveals his location in Al-Sukhnah, Syria.

Cameraman Muutaz Yaqoub, who was working with Khaled Alkhateb, was injured in the shelling. He was sent to a hospital in Homs with minor injuries.

The death of the journalist working with RT is a very sad event for all of us,” RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, said in a statement. “For the first time in RT’s history, a person who was working with our channel in hot spots has died. [I wish] courage to Khalid’s family, friends, and colleagues and everyone who knew and loved him. We will do everything we can to help his family in this situation.

In Alkhateb’s last news story, from last week, refugees from Raqqa spoke to him about the death and destruction caused by coalition strikes.