Tribute to a Slain Cameraman.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf on the passing of her friend, Yasser Faisal, who was killed last week by masked gunmebn in Syria’s Idlib Governorate. An Iraqi with deep experience, he had gone to Syria to cover foreign jihadists, and was hosted in Ildib by one Jabhat al Nusra’s fighting groups, according to a friend who traveled with him inside.
Ms. Arraf wrote:
He’d left Baghdad at the end of November on a flight to Turkey with a new camera, new clothes and boundless confidence. If he’d told his family or friends he was crossing over into Syria they would have tried to stop him.
Once across the Turkish border, a Syrian journalist took him into Idlib province and warned him not to go any further.
"I told him this is not like Iraq – this is a whole other story," says Muhanad Dhugeim who took the photos of Yasser before they parted ways. "He said he could handle it."
"At their home in Fallujah on Monday, Yasser’s family was still trying to understand why he died. His eldest daughter, Sara, is ten. His youngest children, just four and two, will know him only through stories about him and the legacy of his stories that showed Iraq to the world.
"I’m glad he died a hero," said Afrah, one of his four sisters.
Yasser was buried in Fallujah, the city he loved, next to Shiekh Khalid al-Jumaily, a leader of the protest movement who was assassinated in Fallujah two weeks ago. A sign at the cemetery reads that 1,200 bodies from the battles of Fallujah in 2004, still unidentified, are buried there. Yasser survived those battles and all the ones that followed. They believe in fate here. Yasser travelled to meet his in a battle still unfolding.
Many questions surround his killing, which happened after four gunmen stopped the car he was riding in and, in what appears to have been a targeted killing, shot him repeatedly at close range. Who killed him? Why? On whose orders? How did they know precisely where he would be? Why did they kill him and let others in the car live?
Violence against journalists in Syria is worse than in any other recent conflict, according to CPJ. Many foreign and Syrian journalists have been abducted. A few have been missing more than a year. Others have died on the battlefield, sometimes in suspicious circumstances.
There is no end in sight.
Read the full tribute here, where the photograph, at top, appeared.