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Journalist Reported Killed At Lebanon's Border With Syria

  • RFE/RL

Syrians who fled Syria stand behind the gate of a refugee camp near the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern city of Yayladagi. (file photo)

Syrians who fled Syria stand behind the gate of a refugee camp near the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern city of Yayladagi. (file photo)

A Lebanese TV journalist has been reported killed near Lebanon's border with Syria.

Ali Shaaban, a cameraman who worked for Lebanon's Al-Jadeed television channel, was reported shot as he was filming in northern Wadi Khaled area on the Lebanese side of the border on April 9.

Security officials were cited as saying the gunfire apparently came from the Syrian side of the border. The cameraman was rushed to hospital but died on the way.

The incident was condemned by Beirut, where the government is dominated by Syrian allies, mainly the Iran-backed Shi'ite Hizballah party.

Earlier on April 9, two Syrians and a Turkish translator were reported injured by gunfire coming from the Syrian side of the frontier at a border camp for Syrian refugees in southern Turkey.

Syrian activists said soldiers were believed to be firing at rebels who tried to escape across the border.

The Foreign Ministry in Ankara said, "Syrian citizens who flee the violence of the Syrian regime are under Turkey's full guarantee. It's natural that we will take necessary precautions if such incidents occur again."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement deploring the violence, and U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the White House was "absolutely outraged."

The incidents come as an internationally-brokered cease-fire to stop 13 months of bloodshed in Syria appeared set to fail.

The cease-fire plan brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan was supposed to go into effect on April 10.

Truce Hopes Fading

Hopes for a truce, however, were quickly fading after President Bashar al-Assad's government raised new, last minute demands, which the country's largest rebel group swiftly rejected.

Under the cease-fire plan which was endorsed by the UN Security Council, Syrian government forces were to withdraw from population centers on April 10, followed by a cease-fire by both sides within 48 hours.

On April 8, Syria's Foreign Ministry said it needs written guarantees from opposition fighters that they will lay down their weapons.

The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, Riad al-Asaad, said the rebels were committed to the cease-fire plan, and will present guarantees to the international community -- but not to Assad's regime.

'Summary Executions'

Syrian Member of Parliament George Jabari accused the opposition of seeking leverage for future negotiations.

"The opposition has the support of foreign forces and they want to take greater advantage of the military in order to increase their bargaining chips with the Syrian government in the future," he said.

The United Nations estimates that more than 9,000 people have been killed since protests against Assad's regime began in Syria in March 2011.

In a report released on April 9, Human Rights Watch said Syrian government forces have summarily executed more than 100 people over the past four months, most of them civilians.

The group says it only included cases corroborated by witnesses but has received more reports of similar incidents.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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