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Suspected Turkish Drone Hits Journalist’s Car in Northeast Syria

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A suspected Turkish drone hit a car carrying journalists in northeast Syria, killing the driver and severely wounding a journalist, local officials said.

The late Wednesday attack took place on a main road near the Kurdish city of Qamishli, according to Jin TV, the channel where both individuals worked.

The media office of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria said in a statement that the car was carrying journalists, without giving further details.

Jin TV, a network run by women, said the driver was immediately killed, and the female reporter was critically wounded. A medical source told local media on Thursday that the reporter, identified as 28-year-old Dalila Agid, has been transferred to the intensive care unit at a local hospital in Qamishli.

Jin TV identified the 45-year-old driver as Najmadin Faysal Sinan.

Turkey has not commented on this specific attack, but the Turkish military says its strikes in northern Syria target Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists.

Turkey views the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as an extension of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ankara considers both groups to be terrorist organizations.

On Thursday, dozens of local journalists gathered in front of a U.N. office in Qamishli, protesting the recent Turkish attack and demanding protection for journalists operating in northeast Syria.

Dilyar Jaziri, co-president of the Union of Free Media (YRA), a local journalists’ syndicate, said such attacks limit the freedom of movement for local reporters.

“Journalists have been instrumental in conveying what has been happening here to the rest of the world, but these attacks by Turkey put them put them at a great risk,” he told VOA.

“Such attacks on reporters impact the free flow of information and hinder access to news in this volatile part of Syria,” Jaziri added.

Since the outbreak of its conflict in 2011, Syria is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. At least 270 journalists and media workers have been killed since 2011, according to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

Syria ranked 175 out of 180 on RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index, with 1 showing the best environment for media.

This story originated in VOA’s Kurdish Service.

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