Press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RWB) on Monday condemned attacks against the press in Iraq and Syria by extremists groups, principally a Jihadist entity called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
RWB expressed its condemnation for the recent spate of attackst that ISIS "has carried out against news media and journalists in the past few days in both Iraq and the so-called 'liberated' areas of Syria." Saying it was "worried and appalled by the growing number of ISIS attacks on journalists in Iraq and Syria," the Reporters organisation said it believed the group was trying to get control over information in areas under its control.
ISIS is one of the groups that is seeking the overthrow the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad but it has also been accused of human rights abuses and excessive brutality in its campaign.
"This Jihadi group uses all means possible to further its goal of controlling news and information, systematically targeting journalists and media that do not share its ideology. Intimidation, abduction, torture and murder - ISIS rules nothing out in order to impose a reign of terror," RWB said in the statement.
It also noted the important role played by local media in Syria, which is often the only source of news these days, but said that this news job is becoming increasingly dangerous.
The Damascus regime has also been blasted for abusing press professionals and citizen journalists and dozens have disappeared after being abducted by government forces. The regime is also blamed for the deaths of several foreign journalists.
Reporters, both local and foreign, have been targeted by both sides in the Syrian conflict, and a number of journalists, including several foreigners, are being held hostage by opposition militias and groups.