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Pro-government TV cameraman slain in Syria

December 22, 2012|By Ned Parker

BEIRUT -- A Syrian state television cameraman was slain outside his home in Damascus, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported Saturday.

Haidar Smoudi was the ninth state-employed journalist killed by "armed terrorist groups," the news agency said. The Syrian government and its agencies commonly refer to rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad as "terrorists."

There was no claim of responsibility in the shooting, but anti-government groups have been suspected of carrying out previous attacks against state–employed journalists.

The 21-month-old rebellion has claimed as many as 40,000 lives, according to the opposition. A United Nations panel described the conflict this week as increasingly sectarian and detailed abuses by both government forces and rebels.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, an activist from the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition group, denounced the killing of Smoudi.

“We condemn completely the targeting of unarmed journalists who are considered pro-regime just as we condemn the killing of any unarmed civilian no matter their affiliation,” he said.
 
Abdul-Rahman acknowledged that some rebels have not been pleased by his group’s commenting on their own side’s excesses.

“We as a human rights organization have come under pressure by some members of the opposition,” Abdul-Rahman said. “I call them the opposition's media shabiha, who have condemned us for standing up for all civilians.”
 
Shabiha is a term referring to pro-Assad militias.

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