TV cameraman shot dead on Lebanon-Syria border
Reuters is reporting that Syrian soldiers shot and killed a TV cameraman working for Lebanon's Al-Jadeed television channel on Monday near the Syria-Lebanon border,
The victim, Ali Shabaan, 32, was shot in the chest, and taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, The Daily Star
Shabaan was an assistant cameraman working on the Lebanese side in the region of Wadi Khaled when Syrian soldiers started shooting at a car carrying Al-Jadeed crew members, Reuters
Hussein Khreiss, a colleague of Shabban's said the crew had explained to the soldiers that they were there reporting, but the soldiers began shooting anyway.
"We told our Syrian brothers that we are not military, but they opened fire heavily on the car," Khreiss said.
According to The Daily Star
, Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said he would speak to the Syrian government about investigating the shooting, and ask that the killers be held accountable.
"We deplore and condemn the shooting from the Syrian side on the Lebanese media team, especially as this team was carrying out its work inside Lebanese territory," Mikati said
in a statement.
Syrian state television quoted a "media source" as saying the incident occurred at the same time Syrian guards at a nearby border post were attacked by a "terrorist group." Reuters
Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Monday than an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killing of Ali Shabban had been launched, The Daily Star
"An investigation is underway by security forces and the testimonies of the two journalists who were with [Shabban] were taken," Charbel told The Daily Star.
"A Lebanese citizen and journalist was killed on the border, and it is a very sad thing, especially that he was shot [despite being] unarmed," Charbel added.
Charbel also expressed bafflement as to why the soldiers would shoot at the journalists when both sides had been in communication with one another, The Daily Star
Hours after Shabban's death, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri denounced his killing as an "assault on Lebanese sovereignty," and said he holds the Lebanese government responsible for what happened."
Hariri's views were explained in a statement to The Daily Star
saying that Hariri held the government responsible "for turning a blind eye to the series of attacks and intrusions which Syrian forces have carried out against Lebanese territories for months." He is frustrated that the government has yet to take the proper measures to see that these attacks end.
Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea expressed similar sentiments. Like Hariri, he also condemned the attack, and urged the government to control the Lebanese-Syrian border, and "most importantly, to protect freedoms and journalists."