Mosaab Mohamed Saeed Al-Odaallah, a journalist working for the arts and culture section of the government newspaper Tishreen, was killed today by government soldiers after they entered his home in the southern Damascus district of Nahar Aisha, Reuters has reported, quoting opposition sources.
His death was a targeted reprisal for his supposed support for the opposition, according to a friend quoted by Agence France-Presse.
The raid on Al-Odaallah's home occurred during intensive shelling of southern districts of the capital by government forces, which left a total of 40 dead – 22 in Kafr Sousseh and 18 in Nahar Aisha.
Reporters Without Borders has not been able verify the exact circumstances of his death because it is impossible for independent journalists to go to the scene. Al-Odaallah, who was originally from the southern city of Deraa, used a pseudonym for his independent reporting that was critical of the government crackdown.
If the information is confirmed, Al-Odaallah is the tenth professional journalist to be killed since the start of the conflict in Syria in March 2011 and the fifth Syrian one. His death comes just two days after the Japanese reporter Mika Yamamoto was killed in Aleppo.
Yamamoto's husband and fellow journalist, who was with her at the time, can be seen talking about her tragic in death in this video.
Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile still been unable to obtain any news of the two Al-Hurra TV journalists – Palestinian reporter Bashar Fahmi and his Turkish cameraman Cuneyt Unal – who went missing in Aleppo on 20 August. It is thought they are being held by the security forces or a pro-government group.
The press freedom organization condemns TV journalist Malek Abu Al-Kheir's arrest by Syrian security forces after he set off for Beirut from Damascus on 18 August. No information has been provided about the reasons for his arrest or where he is currently being held. Al-Kheir works for Orient TV.
At least 30 Syrian journalists and citizen-journalists are currently detained in Syria.