Yet another citizen journalist reporting under cover on the atrocities perpetrated by both the Syrian regime and ISIS extremists has been murdered.
The activist collective Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) has confirmed that its member Ahmad Mohammed al-Mousa was seized on Wednesday by masked men in Idlib, a city under ISIS control, and murdered. His is the third confirmed murder of RBSS members.
Ibrahim Abdul Qadier and Fares Hamadi were captured and executed in south-eastern Turkey in October. ISIS released a video announcing the murders and warned members: “You will not be safe from the knife of the Islamic State. Our hand will reach you wherever you are.”
Five people, including Mr Mousa’s father, were abducted earlier this year and are feared dead after being denounced as members of RBSS.
— الرقة تذبح بصمت (@Raqqa_SL) December 16, 2015
The international Committee to Protect Journalists honoured the group and its members only three weeks ago with the 2015 International Press Freedom Award.
The group was formed in April, 2014, when a group of Syrian civilians, appalled by the deeds of ISIS extremists who seized the city of Raqqa and named it the capital of their caliphate, decided to document the atrocities and publicise them by any means possible.
Announcing the award, the ICP said:
“The activists, working anonymously for their safety, formed a group, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), which is one of the few reliable and independent sources of news left in the Islamic State stronghold.
“The group’s Raqqa-based members secretly film and report from within the city and send the information to members outside of Syria, who transfer the news to local and international media. Since its inception, RBSS has publicized public lashings, crucifixions, beheadings, and draconian social rules, thus providing the world with a counter-narrative to Islamic State’s slickly produced version of events.”
London’s The Independent last week published a generous appreciation of the work RBSS does, pointing out its powerful role in deterring some potential extremist recruits from heading to Syria, and disillusioning some already there by revealing the truth about the terror imposed by ISIS.
You can follow RBSS’s reports via its Twitter account, Facebook or a website generated by members outside the conflict zone. Posts are irregular, and can, it must be said, be gruesome – but that is inevitable as it reports on atrocities committed by a group that seeks to shock and terrify.
Syria has become the most dangerous place for reporters, with the Bashar al-Assad regime and its support groups killing even more journalists than ISIS.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Syria is one of the worst countries to work as a journalist, ranking 176 out of 179 nations profiled. The CPJ reports that since the present Syrian civil war began in March, 2011, 85 journalists have been murdered and 90 abducted. Of those, the al-Assad regime has killed 48.
RBSS has been unrelenting in reporting atrocities perpetrated by all parties to the conflict. It is not clear that ISIS killed Mr al-Mousa – even RBSS is being scrupulously vague until further evidence is available – but he was based in an ISIS stronghold. – Compiled from web sources by The Newsroom Team