Syrian TV presenter shot by Islamic State in Turkey dies of injuries

Syrian television presenter Muhammed Zahir al-Sherkat, who was shot in southern Turkey two days ago in an attack claimed by Islamic State, died at a local hospital Tuesday as a result of his injuries.

The incident - the latest attack by the extremist group on its opponents in Turkey - has sent fresh shock waves through the Syrian media community, which is already on edge.

“He was on life support since he had been shot on Sunday. Doctors told us that they couldn't operate because his vital signs were so bad and his blood pressure was very high,” Marwan al-Shawi, a Syrian journalist who had visited the hospital, told dpa.

The attack was claimed by Islamic State on its affiliated Amaq news agency.

Al-Sherkat had regularly delivered anti-Islamic State messages on his weekly programme on Haleb al-Youm (Aleppo Today), a Syrian opposition broadcaster, which also confirmed the journalist's death on Tuesday.

Rami Jarrah, another prominent Syrian journalist based in southern Turkey, issued a statement asking the Turkish government to do more to protect reporters from Islamic State and be more open about investigations into previous cases.

"We call on the Turkish authorities to take serious and effective action into cracking down on the perpetrators," said Jarrah.

In October, Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing two Syrian journalists in Sanliurfa, also in the south of Turkey near the border.

In January, it was made public that Islamic State had killed Ruqia Hassan, a 30-year-old female journalist and activist who reported from inside al-Raqqa, the extremists' de-facto capital in Syria.

Naji Jerf, a Syrian filmmaker who worked on exposing life under Islamic State control, was also killed in December in Turkey. It is not clear whether the extremist group was behind his death.

Originally from Aleppo in northern Syria, Al-Sherkat was a longtime opponent of Islamic State.

A former rebel in the Syrian civil war, he first took up arms to fight forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and then refocused on Islamic State in 2014 as the extremist group gained ground, according to people familiar with his work. In al-Bab, a town in northern Aleppo province, al-Sherkat worked as an imam at a local mosque, often dedicating his sermons to warnings against Islamic State and highlighting how, in his view, the group did not represent Muslims or their religion.

Last update: Tue, 12/04/2016 - 19:42

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