May 2016 Death Toll
SNHR issued its monthly report documenting the violations committed against the media activists by all parties of the conflict in Syria in terms of attention to the prominent role of journalists in the popular movement in the armed struggle.
According to the report, Media’s situation is deteriorating in Syria amid the absence of care and attention of a number of international media organizations regarding the Syrian crisis and the sharply decrease of media coverage in the last year compared to previous years.
Also the report indicated the media activist is a civilian individual, according to international humanitarian law, regardless of nationality, and any attack targeting them is intentionally considered as a war crime, but the activist who is close to military targets, he is doing so based on his own responsibility, because the target in this case, may be considered among the side effects, and also he loses his protection if he participated directly in combat operations. We also see that the media activists must be respected, whether they have identity cards, or those who don’t have due to the many difficulties to own one.
Since the beginning of the cessation of hostilities, different Syrian governorates, especially regions under the control of armed opposition, witnessed a significant decline in the shelling and killing rates since March 2011; However, the Syrian regime continued to breach the ceasefire in several ways as it is one of the most affected parties regarding this agreement
One day after the declaration of the Supreme Commission for negotiations to postpone its participation in the Geneva negotiations on 19 April, government forces and Russian forces resumed bombardment of areas beyond the control of the Syrian regime to return the pace of killings to what it was before the cessation of hostilities agreement.
According to SNHR methodology, a citizen journalist is anyone who plays an important role in covering and publishing news even if he is not impartial as opposed to what a journalist should be. When a citizen journalist carries a weapon and gets involved directly in armed clashes, he is no longer a citizen journalist unless he completely retires from military action.
This report is based mainly on SNHR’s archives and investigations in addition to the testimonies of victims’ families and relatives. Information we collected from local activists and the verified pictures and videos we receive; It should be noted that these statistics and facts are the bare minimum of the violations and crimes that happened in light of the security and logistic difficulties and challenges we are facing in order to reach the locations where these violations occurred.
The report shows the most significant violations committed against media personnel in May 2016 where it documented the death of 2 activists by government forces, 4 by ISIS, 3 by armed opposition factions, also the report documented the death of one media activist by unidentified groups.
The report documented an arrest case at the hand of government forces. Moreover it recorded 4 arrest cases which were released at the hand of armed opposition factions and one arrest case by Kurdish self-management. The report recorded one abduction case by unidentified groups.
According to the report, 5 activists were injured by government forces, one by ISIS, and 2 by armed opposition factions. While the report documented 2 bombing incidents by the government forces at 2 media centers.
The report stated to rescue what can be rescued of the press work in Syria and assure on respecting the freedom of the press and to guarantee the safety for those who are working there.
The report recommended from The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn the targeting of journalists in Syria, and to highlight the sacrifices and suffering; and from the Security Council to contribute to the fight against impunity policy through the referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
Also recommended from Media Arab and international institutions to advocate media colleagues by publishing periodic reports shed light on the daily suffering and perpetuate their sacrifices, and must communicate with their loved ones and to mitigate and comfort them.