Syrian TV cameraman assassinated outside Damascus by 'armed groups’
Haidar al-Sumudi, 45, was shot and killed as his was leaving his house in the Kfar Spusseh neighborhood on his way to work Friday night, SANA reported.The number of journalist kills in Syria has spiked since the country plunged into violent civil conflict in March 2011. Over 60 professional and citizen-journalists have been killed so far, according to mid-December figures published by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.State media employees have been targeted on numerous occasions. On December 4, a reporter for government newspaper Tishrin was shot dead in Damascus. Basel Tawfiq Yussif, a journalist working for Syrian TV, was gunned down the previous month. In July, TV host Mohammed al-Saeed was kidnapped and executed, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.Meanwhile, journalists continue to criticize the Syrian government for its reluctance to allow international reporters to enter the country and provide independent coverage of the violence unfolding. Damascus officials have said that they cannot guarantee the journalists' security due to internal instability. One of the most vivid instances of what might befall a journalist in Syria today is Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva, who was kidnapped by a group of Syrian rebels back in October, and her whereabouts remain unknown. The kidnappers have threatened to kill the reporter if a $50 million ransom is not paid.