SAFETY ADVISORY: Bombing on Turkey/Syria border

The International News Safety Institute advises journalists against using the Bab al-Hawa border crossing on the Turkey / Syria border.

A car bomb exploded there yesterday (17 September) killing at least seven people and wounding several others.

The blast occurred near a rebel roadblock near the Cilvegozu border post, in Turkey’s southern Hatay province.

It is the second blast at the crossing point this year. In February, 14 people were killed when a car bomb exploded there.

The perpetrators of this most recent attack are unknown. However Syria-based armed groups are believed to have previously carried out attacks in this area. In May, two car bombs detonated in the southern Turkish town of Reyhanli, 10 km from the Bab al-Hawa/Cilvegozu crossing, killing 51 people. Turkey later accused a group with links to Syrian intelligence of carrying out the attack, Reuters reported.

INSI is also aware of reports of kidnapping, attempted kidnap and surveillance at this crossing point and advises journalists to exercise extreme caution. Only work with fixers that you trust and have good procedures for anti-surveillance.

INSI urges journalists to undertake hostile environment and medical training prior to taking any assignment in Syria. They should ensure that they have carried out a thorough risk assessment and have robust contingency plans, including a confirmed communications plan.

For more information, please contact INSI.

Photos: A Syrian rebel with a damaged car at the scene where a car bomb exploded at Bab al-Hawa, Syria. (AP/ENN) / Google maps

Note: The views here are those of the author and are personal reflections and safety advice. They are meant to assist the media in preparing to work in Syria and are not meant to be negative in nature. If they cause offence to anyone, sincerest apologies are offered in advance. INSI holds no responsibility for any ensuing problems, bodily harm or death in relation to this advice.

Source: Red 24