Syrian forces kill journalist in Damascus raid

AMMAN Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:46pm BST

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AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian soldiers killed a Syrian journalist sympathetic to the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad during a raid in Damascus on Wednesday, opposition activists said.

Mosaab al-Odaallah, who worked for the state-run Tishreen newspaper, was shot at point-blank range at his home by troops conducting house-to-house raids in the southern Nahr Eisha district of the capital, the activists said.

It was not immediately possible to verify their account due to government restrictions on independent media.

Odaallah was among at least 40 people killed by bombardment and other attacks in Damascus, where the Syrian army used tanks and helicopter gunships during an offensive against rebels.

He was from the southern city of Deraa, cradle of the 17-month-old revolt against Assad, and had used a pseudonym to write online reports about the crackdown in his home town.

Massoud Akko, head of the public freedoms committee at the underground Syrian Journalists Association, said Odaallah's death brought to 54 the number of Syrian journalists, bloggers and writers killed by security forces during the uprising.

"Most have been killed with shots to the head. The regime appears to have adopted a systematic policy of killing journalists and social media activists," Akko said by telephone from Berlin.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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