September 26, 2012 / 9:20 AM / 7 years ago

Correspondent for Iranian TV killed by sniper in Syria

DUBAI (Reuters) - A correspondent for Iran’s English-language Press TV was shot dead in Syria and its Damascus bureau chief was wounded, Press TV reported on Wednesday, in an attack the channel blamed on regional powers that support Syrian rebel forces.

“Insurgents in the Syrian capital Damascus have attacked Press TV staff and killed one of our reporters,” anchor Bardia Honardar said on air.

Maya Naser, 33, Press TV’s correspondent in Damascus, died after being shot in the neck by a sniper, and Damascus bureau chief Hussein Murtada received a gunshot wound to the back, Press TV said. The two journalists were covering twin bombings on Wednesday that targeted one of Syria’s military command buildings in the capital.

Iran has supported Assad, its sole Arab ally, as he attempts to suppress the uprising, and accuses Western and regional powers of arming rebels with the intent of toppling President Bashar al-Assad.

“We hold Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who provide militants (with) weapons to kill civilians, military personnel and journalists, responsible for the killing of Maya,” Press TV’s news director Hamid Reza Emadi said on air from Tehran.

“Press TV will be pursuing the matter of the murder of Maya and will not let those who killed our correspondent feel like they can kill media people and get away with it.”

Murtada, who is also bureau chief for Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam, was injured earlier this month while travelling with Syrian government forces when armed men ambushed them, Al-Alam reported.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent organization dedicated to the defense of press freedom, says that more than 20 foreign and Syrian journalists have been killed in Syria since the revolt against Assad began in March 2011.

Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by David Goodman

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