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Sky News crew in Idlib 'deliberately targeted' by Syrian government forces

Footage posted online by Sky News shows film crew fleeing bombardment
Aftermath of air strike on Kafranbel in rebel-held part Idlib province, 20 May (AFP/File photo)

Three Sky News journalists were targeted by Syrian government forces while reporting on the escalating violence in northwestern Syria, the news channel has confirmed.

The Sky employees were working alongside US journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem, who was struck by shrapnel from a Syrian government tank shell, the outlet said on Thursday.

Footage posted online by Sky News showed the film crew fleeing the bombardment.

Middle East Eye had revealed on Wednesday that the Syrian government had targeted the Sky News journalists who assisted Kareem when he was hit by shrapnel from the Syrian government attack.

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"The Sky News crew - clearly identified as journalists - was deliberately targeted and attacked by Syrian regime forces using military drones to pinpoint our location before launching a series of strikes," Alex Crawford, a Sky News correspondent who was with the targeted team in Syria, wrote on Thursday.

Crawford added that one of the crew members was wearing a flak jacket that said "Press" on the front and back.

Kareem, who runs On the Ground News, has previously worked with the BBC, Channel 4 News and CNN, and had told MEE that the crew was purposely "targeted" by the Syrian government, which has been intensifying its bombardment of rebel-held Idlib in the northwest.

"We were all together when the attack happened," Kareem said. "I could see it being the case that we were targeted because they have never been friendly to journalists."

The Syrian government has repeatedly been accused by rights groups of targeting local and foreign journalists during the country's ongoing civil war.

In 2012, Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and French journalist Remi Ochlik were killed by Syrian government shelling in the city of Homs.

Earlier this year, a US court ruled the Syrian government was responsible for Colvin's death, ordering a $302.5m payout for what it called an "unconscionable" attack on journalists.

Syrian military and intelligence tracked the broadcasts of Colvin and other journalists covering the siege of Homs to the media center, and they then targeted it in an artillery barrage, the court said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based watchdog, reported that nine journalists were killed in Syria last year.

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