Video captures RT Arabic contributor Khaled Alkhateb’s last seconds before death at hands of ISIS
The footage from July 30 captures the calm as RT contributor Khaled Alkhateb conducts his final interview, and the panic after a mortar shell strikes the same spot, killing both the journalist and his subject.
Muutaz Yaqoub, the cameraman who supplied the footage, says Alkhateb was warned that the assignment near Al-Sukhnah, in the Syrian province of Homs, a frontline where the government is fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants was unsecured, but would not take no for an answer.
In the footage, he is interviewing General Muhsin Jammiah, who describes the Syrian Army’s pursuit maneuvers, while being filmed by one cameraman close up, and another at a distance.
According to Yaqoub, as the interview was wrapping up, a tank located next to the journalist unleashed two rounds against a known IS position, and before Alkhateb and Jammiah could move away, the militants replied, using the kind of portable launcher ubiquitous in the conflict.
In the next part of the video, there are cries off-screen of “Are they going to fire again?”
Then soldiers in uniform can be seen scattering among the equipment, while one tank appears to be smeared in blood.
“I am wounded! I am wounded!” shouts another voice off-camera, as the footage cuts off.
Alkhateb and Jammiah were killed instantly, while Yaqoub and several of the troops suffered minor injuries.
The director-general of UNESCO, the UN’s culture and science body, condemned the killing of Alkhateb on Thursday.
Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of the journalist, who worked for several channels in Syria, before he started contributing to reports on RT Arabic in April this year.
A ceremony at RT’s headquarters in Moscow was attended by diplomats from multiple Middle Eastern states, including the Syrian ambassador.
An annual journalism prize has been instituted by RT in his memory to celebrate the “bravery and sacrifice” of correspondents risking their lives in war zones.
“This will in no way save his life, but I feel that in some way he knows and appreciates this token of remembrance,” said RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, as she announced the award.