Syrian al Qaeda affiliate executes Iraqi cameraman - watchdog

BEIRUT Thu Dec 5, 2013 9:23am EST

BEIRUT Dec 5 (Reuters) - An al Qaeda-linked group in Syria has executed an Iraqi freelance cameraman, the first foreign journalist killed by insurgents in the rebel-held north, a press freedoms watchdog said on Thursday.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized Yasser Faysal al-Joumaili while he was on a reporting trip in northern Syria's Idlib province on Dec. 4.

Joumaili was then executed and his body later arrived in Turkey, although the exact circumstances of his death were unclear, the watchdog said in a statement.

Joumaili was from the Iraqi city of Fallujah and had three children, it added. He worked for Reuters in Iraq from 2003 to 2009.

Reporters Without Borders said Joumaili was the 20th professional journalist and 8th foreign journalist to die in the Syrian conflict, which started in March, 2011, as a peaceful protest movement and slid into civil war after a crackdown.

(Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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