Members of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham subjected at least 13 citizen journalists to several violations of their fundamental rights varying from beating them to smashing their equipment and verbally abusing them on June 10 while the journalists were covering the passage of a Russian-Turkish joint patrol on the Latakia- Aleppo International Road, known as the M4, at Ariha Bridge in the suburbs of Idlib governorate. The HTS members assaulted the journalists under the pretext that they had been filming women during their media coverage. SNHR has managed to confirm the identities of the citizen journalists who were subjected to physical and verbal abuse:
Omar Haj Qaddour- reporter for Agence France-Presse
Abdul Aziz Qetaz- works for Macro Media Center
Abdul Razzaq al Sbeih- reporter for Halab Today TV
Safi Hamam- reporter for al Jazeera Mubasher
Mu’ath Abbas- reporter for Baladi News
Ali Haj Suleiman- reporter for Shaam News Network
Ghaith al Sayyed- reporter for Shaam News Network
Kenanah Hindawi- reporter for Thiqa Agency
Abdul Wahed Haj Steifi- cooperating with an Agence France-Presse
Ezz al Din al Idlibi- working with Anadolu Agency
Muhammad al Saeed- working with Anadolu Agency
Mu’aweyah al Atrash- working with Middle East Press
Muhammad al Refa’i- working with Zaman al Wasl Newspaper
SNHR notes that Hay’at Tahrir al Sham tends to apply a policy of restrictive regulation of citizen journalists in areas under their control who the group feels pose a threat to its extremist ideology and approach, resulting in many journalists giving up their work or being displaced to other areas.
We condemn this attack on citizen journalists, hold Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham responsible for what happened, and call on the group to carry out an investigation to determine the causes behind this offence and for its members’ dereliction of their responsibilities, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.