KRG Arrests Journalist Reporting on Syrian Christians

11/15/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an Assyrian journalist was arrested by the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) after returning from a two-week assignment reporting on the situation of Christians living in the Syrian city of Qamishli.

The journalist, William Bnyameen Adam, was detained in Iraq for 13 days. During this time, he had limited communication with the outside world, was interrogated, beaten, and his equipment accessed. He had traveled into Syria through a smuggler since the KRG does not recognize the media outlet he was affiliated with (Assyrian National Broadcasting, or ANB). Bnyameen believes he was targeted both because of his work and criticism of Kurdish authorities.

Assyrians are an ethnic-religious minority group who are Christian, whereas the Kurds are an ethnic group predominately Muslim. Both live in northern Iraq and Syria. Tensions between the two groups are often strained, and it is common for religious freedom and ethnic issues to share overlap. This particular case highlights some of the challenges on reporting about the evolving situation in Syria as it impacts Christians, since access is limited given the tense military and political environment.

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