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Syrian journalist murdered by IS gunman in Turkey

Mohammed Zaher al-Shurqat was activist against the Assad regime and IS [Facebook]

Date of publication: 12 April, 2016

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Syrian journalist Mohammed Zaher al-Shurqat who was shot on Sunday in the Turkish city of Gaziantep died from his wounds - the fourth anti-IS campaigner murdered there in six months.
A Syrian journalist who opposed the Islamic State group has died from wounds sustained by a gunshot to the head by a masked gunman in southern Turkey two days ago.

Anti-regime reporter Mohammed Zaher al-Shurqat was walking down a street in Gaziantep - close to the Syrian border - when he was targeted by an IS gunman.

After fighting for his life, Shurqat succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday and died in hospital.

IS claimed responsibility for the shooting via the Amaq jihadi media outlet, and said a "covert unit" was behind the murder.

Shurqat is the fourth Syrian journalist to be killed in Turkey in the past six months. His death sparked anger among Syrian activists that Ankara is not doing enough to protect anti-IS journalists and regime opponents.  

Meanwhile, media campaigners elsewhere have been concerned by his death.

"Turkish authorities must urgently demonstrate that killing journalists on the streets of Turkey is unacceptable and will not go unpunished," Committee to Protect Journalists Europe and Central Asia Programme Coordinator Nina Ognianova said.

"We call on security officials to hunt down Zaher al-Shurqat's killers, bring them to justice, and ensure journalists can work safely throughout the country."

Rebel reporter

Shurqat worked for Aleppo Today TV, a news outlet strongly opposed to IS who have taken control of much of Syria's northern Aleppo province and launched an offensive against anti-regime rebels last week.

He was immediately hospitalised and is in intensive care, the Turkish reports said, without giving further details.

According to Ibrahim al-Idelbi, a Syrian activist in Gaziantep, this was the second attempt against Shurqat's life in three months.

Idelbi told AFP in Beirut that Shurqat was a rebel commander who had fought regime troops and a media activist in his hometown, al-Bab, until IS took over. He became a journalist with Aleppo Today after he moved to Turkey.

Assaad al-Achi, confirmed the report. "When [IS] took control he started a programme on Aleppo Today against [IS]," said Syrian activist Assaad al-Achi.

The opposition's Syrian National Coalition issued a statement confirming Shurqat's death and condemned the attack.

Gaziantep, close to the Syrian border, has become a scene of bloodshed for anti-IS reporters.

A Syrian activist who produced documentaries hostile to the Islamic State group, Naji Jerf, was shot dead in Gaziantep in December in a crime that caused international concern.

At the end of October, IS claimed responsibility for killing young activist Ibrahim Abdelkader and his friend Fares Hamadi. They were found decapitated in a house in the city of Sanliurfa just east of Gaziantep.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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