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Activists Condemn SDF’s Arrest of 16 Journalists in Syria's Raqqa

Activists Condemn SDF’s Arrest of 16 Journalists in Syria's Raqqa

Monday, 1 August, 2022 - 06:45
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said on Sunday that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) detained at least 16 journalists in Raqqa on July 30.

This came as activists revealed that the Kurdish-led SDF forces have arrested media figures as part of a security campaign in Syria’s northeastern province.

They said the SDF arrested several journalists working in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and in independent media outlets in Raqqa.

The SNHR report said the 16 arrested journalists were held by the SDF’s intelligence apparatus on Saturday under the pretext of “espionage.”

Meanwhile, activists indicated on their Twitter accounts that a large-scale arrest campaign was launched in Raqqa, targeting media professionals including Ruba Al-Ali, an employee at Hawar Agency, Ammar Al-Khalaf from the Euphrates Heritage Agency and formerly at Hawar, Ammar Haidar, who works at North Press and previously at Hawar, Khaled Al-Hassan in the education committee of the Raqqa Civil Council, and Batoul Al-Hassan in the youth media committee and the “Better Tomorrow” organization, in addition to Abdul Karim Al-Raheel, an employee of the Raqqa Civil Council.

According to the Syrian Press Center, the activists said all the detained journalists were from institutions located in the self-styled Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, adding that a number of activists in Raqqa are currently hiding over fears of arrest.

SNHR said the SDF follows a policy similar to the Syrian regime forces during arrest operations, which are not based on any prior judicial warrants.

It said the SDF kidnap the journalists from roads, markets, and public places, or they raid the headquarters of the media agencies and civil groups.

The network expressed fear that the arrested journalists will be subjected to torture during the investigation, and they will be among the forcibly disappeared, similar to the fate of 85 percent of detainees and the disappeared.

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