BEIRUT—A young Syrian television journalist well-known for her pro-government dispatches from the front lines of the nation’s raging civil conflict was shot and killed Monday outside the battleground city of Qusair, the state press agency said.
Yara Abbas, who often reported with a flack vest and helmet while accompanying Syrian troops, fell to “terrorists’ gunfire” as she was reporting on the fighting, said the official Syrian Arab News Agency. She was in her mid-20s.
Syrian officials and pro-government news outlets routinely use the term “terrorists” for armed rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
Abbas was an on-air reporter for Al-Ikhbariya TV, which has been previously targeted by rebels for its fervent pro-government stance. Last June, armed men stormed the station’s former headquarters south of Damascus, killing seven, kidnapping others and setting the studio and offices ablaze.
The station subsequently moved to a more secure location in the capital and has continued reporting on the war, portraying the Syrian military in heroic fashion.
The state press agency quoted the journalist’s father saying: “Yara was martyred when she was carrying out her national duty in divulging the practices of the armed terrorist groups and the havoc they wreaked [on] the homeland.”
The media ministry said Abbas was “targeted” near the town of Dabaa, north of Qusair, where government troops and rebels have reportedly been fighting for control of a military air base. At least one other member of the Al-Ikhbariya crew was also injured in the attack, state media said.
Syrian troops backed by militiamen from the Lebanese group Hezbollah launched a major offensive eight days ago to retake the strategic city of Qusair, long a rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border. The two sides have been battling ever since, both in urban districts and rural areas outside town. Opposition activists have reported more than 100 killed so far in the battle for Qusair.
Abbas becomes the latest member of the press killed in Syria, which was by far the deadliest country for journalists last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a free-press advocacy group. During 2012, the group said, 28 journalists were killed in Syria, either in combat or targeted for death by government or opposition forces.
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