Al-Jazeera reporter dies in Syria road accident

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2014 1:52 PM

BEIRUT (AP) — A reporter for Al-Jazeera's Arabic website died in a car accident in southern Syria while covering clashes between rebels and government troops, the network said Thursday.

The Qatar-based broadcaster said Mahran Deiri died Wednesday evening as he drove with the lights of his car turned off to avoid government fire near the contested village of Sheikh Maskeen in the southern Daraa province.

Deiri died immediately after his car rammed into a Syrian opposition vehicle, Al-Jazeera said.

Ahmad al-Masalmeh, an activist based in the southern province of Daraa, said Deiri was killed in a car accident as he tried to avoid army gunfire.

He was the fourth reporter to die in the past three days.

On Monday, activists said a government rocket attack killed three staffers working for Orient TV, an opposition-linked channel, near the contested village of Sheikh Maskeen.

The three, a cameraman and two reporters, were driving out of the village, where they had been covering clashes between government troops and opposition fighters, when the rocket slammed into their car, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

At least 75 journalists have been killed covering the conflict that has lasted for more than three years, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The vast majority were local journalists like al-Deeri and the Orient TV crew, CPJ said.

Authorities in Damascus restrict access to independent foreign media while local reporters work under heavy restrictions.