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Syrian radio host, videographer gunned down

A Syrian radio host and a videographer who documented unrest in Homs province were separately shot and killed in recent days, according to news accounts.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating the circumstances surrounding the two deaths.

Shukri Abu al-Burghul, 55, a host on state-owned Radio Damascus and an editor with the state-owned daily Al-Thawra, was shot in the head by unidentified gunmen on Friday in his home in Damascus. He died of his injuries on Monday.

Mr Abu al-Burghul worked as a reporter for over 30 years, with both Al-Thawra and Radio Damascus.

Basil al-Sayed, 24, who regularly filmed security forces cracking down on anti-regime protesters in the city of Homs, died in a local hospital of gunshot wounds on 27 December. News accounts attributed the shooting to Syrian security forces. Mr al-Sayed’s hundreds of hours of footage appeared on the sites of loosely-knit citizen news organisations.

With an effective ban on foreign journalists in Syria and with local media neutralised, international media have heavily relied on footage shot by Mr al-Sayed and other citizen journalists.

“We grieve the killings of Mr Abu al-Burghul and Mr al-Sayed,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Coordinator.  “The government has expelled international media, detained or otherwise sidelined professional local journalists, and is now killing citizens who attempt to fill the reporting gap.”

Three journalists have been killed in Syria since November. The first was Ferzat Jarban, a cameraman found dead, with his eyes gouged out.