Two Syrian journalists killed in Damascus: reports


Two Syrian journalists have been killed in the capital, according to reports on Sunday from Syrian state news agency SANA and Al Arabiya.

SANA said its reporter, Ali Abbas, was killed at his residence in the Jdaidet Artouz area. The report blamed an “armed terrorist group” - the regime’s catch-all term for its opponents - and gave no further details.

Al Arabiya said that Bara’a Yusuf al-Bushi, a Syrian national and army defector who provided information to the station and several international news organizations, was killed in a bomb attack while covering a story in al-Tal, a suburb on the northern edge of Damascus.

Bushi, 24, originally from Hama declared his defection late May to work as a field journalist.

“I declare my defection from the regime that kills children and to start my work as a field journalist to report news of the Free Syrian Army and the revolution.”

He became the official spokesman for a revolutionary media group.

Both reporters were killed Saturday, according to the news reports.

There have been several attacks on pro-regime media over the course of Syria’s 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

Activists say more than 20,000 people have been killed since the revolt began in March 2011. The conflict has descended into a civil war.

On Saturday, Damascus saw two bombings that brought chaos to some of the capital's most exclusive areas in a symbolic blow to Assad.

One blast - from a device planted under a tree - was set off by remote control as a vehicle carrying soldiers passed by in the Marjeh district. The explosion, which caused no casualties, was about 100 yards (meters) from the Four Seasons, one of the top luxury hotels in Damascus.

After the blast, gunmen opened fire on civilians “to provoke panic,” SANA reported.

At the same time, the second explosion went off near Tishrin Stadium, less than a half mile (kilometer) away, it added.

Just hours later, SANA said that a bus was attacked in a Damascus suburb, killing six passengers traveling from the central province of Hama.

The news agency said security agents were pursuing the attackers in all incidents, referring to them as “terrorists” - the term authorities routinely use for rebels trying to topple Assad’s regime.