ISIS claims it shot a Syrian journalist in Turkey
The Islamic State claimed on Monday it shot 36-year-old Zahir al-Sherkat, a Syrian journalist, in southwestern Turkey.
In a statement published by its Amaq News Agency, ISIS said it shot al-Sherkat in the Turkish city of Gaziantep with a firearm strapped with a silencer because he is an "announcer for TV shows opposing the Islamic State." The statement, uncovered by Vocativ, was posted on the messaging app Telegram, a popular platform for online communication among ISIS supporters.
Turkish media reported on Sunday that al-Sherkat was hospitalized and in critical condition, and that he was reportedly carrying maps showing regions of Syria. The publication also posted what it said is footage of the incident from a security camera, showing a masked suspect approaching al-Sherkat and attacking him from behind.
Following the shooting, anti-ISIS activists in Syria circulated an image of the injured journalist.
Th attack highlights the dangers journalists face not only in Turkey, but also across the region. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Syria was the deadliest country for journalists last year: 14 journalists were killed, including two who were murdered.
ISIS offered a reminder in its Amaq statement that the terror group has previously targeted people for speaking out against it. The Islamic State said it killed members of an anti-ISIS activist group called Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently last year, also in Turkey. One of them was Naji Jerf, a film director for the activist group who was assassinated in December in the same city where al-Sherkat was shot: Gaziantep. Two months before that, in October, a member of the group and his friend were found dead in a home in the southeastern Turkish city of Urfa. ISIS said the two were targeted "after they conspired with the Crusaders against the Islamic State," The Telegraph reported.
Journalists and activists aren't the only people ISIS has targeted, whether outside of its territories in Syria and Iraq, or closer to home. Its brutality has extended to its own fighters. In early April, ISIS killed 15 members of the terror group in connection with the death of a senior leader who was killed in an airstrike, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, Reuters reported.