Damascus - Agencies
A “terrorist attack” on a pro-government television channel near Damascus killed five staff early on Wednesday, Syria's state-run SANA news agency reported. The assailants also ransacked the offices of the al-Ikhbariya channel, the news agency added, without immediately giving more details on the attack.
“The terrorists planted explosive devices in the headquarters of al-Ikhbariya following their ransacking of the satellite channel studios, including the newsroom which was entirely destroyed,” reported SANA.
“Three colleagues were killed as a result of the brutal terrorist attack,” it added, without giving details on how the employees died, Reuters reported.
The channel remained on the air despite the reported assault, a fact hailed by state television, according to AFP.
“Despite the barbarity of the terrorists’ crime and their attempt to silence the voice of Syria... Al-Ikhbariya is still broadcasting,” it said.
Al-Ikhbariya TV is located in the town of Drousha, about 20km (14 miles) south of the capital Damascus.
An employee at the station told The Associated Press that the gunmen stormed two of the station’s buildings, detained some of the guards then blew up parts of it with explosives.
The employee, who did not give his name for fear of repercussions, said the gunmen blindfolded him then drove him away about 200 meters (yards) where he heard the explosion.
“I was terrified,” the man said by telephone.
A pro-government television channel was among the organisations hit by the latest round of EU sanctions against the Syrian authorities imposed on Monday. The 27-nation bloc had already imposed sanctions on the state broadcast media.
Washington put the state broadcaster on its sanctions blacklist in March.