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Entries in Bill Neely (3)


Syria Live Coverage: "Darayya is Being Pounded to Dust"

Al Jazeera's Sue Turton on Syrians decimating forests to survive the winter

See also Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Gas Plant Siege Ends with 23 Hostages, 32 Attackers Killed
Saturday's Syria Live Coverage: UN Human Rights Chief Calls for War Crimes Investigation

2029 GMT: A Town After the Bombardment. Al Jazeera English's Basma Atassi reports:

The centre of Salqin in northern Syria looked deceptively normal, just a day after the town came under lethal government air strikes.

Shops were open for business. Residents strolled through the main square. Children could be seen playing in the narrow streets.

Yet a closer look at the streets of Salqin revealed the brutal scars of war. Away from the square, sidewalks were stained with blood and littered with broken glass.

Residents said six people were killed when government forces attacked the rebel-held town bordering Turkey on Friday. Dozens of people were injured, locals said, including many children.

Three siblings --- Basel, 12, Doriyeh, 10, and Raghad, 8 --- were injured by shrapnel as a rocket detonated near their home while they played.

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Syria Live Coverage: Another Mass Killing, Another Dispute of Responsibility

Today's demonstration in Kafranbel in Idlib Province

See also Syria Feature: Who Carried Out the Mass Killing in Haswiyeh?
Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: At Least 30 Hostages Killed in Rescue Attempt
Thursday's Syria Live Coverage: Who Bombed Aleppo University?

2015 GMT: Al Jazeera Reporter was Activist. Al Jazeera English provides more information on the Al Jazeera reporter who was killed in Daraa:

"The Syrian journalist, 33, used the pseudonym of Mohamed Al-Horani, was shot with three bullets, during covering the fights at the front lines in the town of Busra Al-Harir in the countryside of Daraa." the news channel said in a press release on Friday.

An Al Jazeera Media Network spokesperson affirmed that "targeting its collaborating journalists and crews will not change the editorial method and guidelines adopted by the network since it was launched 16 years ago for the sake of delivering the truth".

AJE's liveblog says that Horani was a "freelancer."

Al Jazeera says that this is another example of the regime targeting journalists. But here's the problem. A video shows the minute he was shot. The first and obvious problem is that he was traveling with armed combatants, which means that he was vulnerable to being targeted by an opposing faction. Rules of war dictate that journalists and medical professionals should not be specifically targeted, but if they are traveling with combatants then this prohibition is more or less out the window. The second problem is the method in which he was killed. Horani, his cameraman, and a group of insurgents arrive at a street. First, an armed (and fast moving) insurgent runs across the street. After a pause, Horani then runs. He is not as fast, and the sniper has had time to line up a shot. The sniper opens fire, and Horani falls.

The sniper may not have known that a member of the press was in the area, expected an insurgent to cross the road, and likely did not have enough time to properly discern that Horani was not an insurgent. A combat veteran we showed the video too shook his head, because the folly of Horani's decision was so obvious to him.

This begs another question. According to Al Jazeera, this is a freelance journalist who was first an activist in Syria. He began to work for Al Jazeera after he was arrested and then released from prison. Did this man have any training in journalism? Was he objective? Was he properly trained by Al Jazeera to protect himself in a warzone? Or was he just given a camera and set loose?

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Syria Feature: Who Carried Out the Mass Killing in Haswiyeh?

1650 GMT: I've just finished a long conversation with ITV's Bill Neely, where we compared notes between his observations and BBC's Lyse Doucet's own reports.

Neely says that both reports seem similar. However, Neely has clarified many aspects of his report which I will summarize below:

Hasiyweh (here on the map) is a village primarily made of Sunnis. According to Neely, the river divides the village, half of which the rebels control and the other half of which the military controls. The rebels use the orchards and nearby homes to attack the Intelligence Headquarters to the east:

View Reported Massacres in Hama/Houla in a larger map

He says that the village has become host of refugees who have fled other parts of Homs, and it is a mix of people, including rebels.

Neely says that he talked to people away from the soldiers, and they made a compelling case. They said Jabhat al Nusra did this.

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