Citizen Journalist MazharTayyara Killed in Homs

With great sorrow and grief, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression receives news of citizen journalist Mohammad Mazhar Mohammad Omar Tayyara’s death who was killed in the neighborhood of Al Khalidiya in the city of Homs on 4/2/2012. He left home in the neighborhood of the Insha’at at night to head to Khalidiya and speak to one of the international media channels on the current events in Homs. The shelling, however, hit him, he died later in Bir Hospital.

Omar Tayyara, was born in 27th. August 1988, he entered the Faculty of Civil Engineering and then was killed in his fifth year.

"He came nearly at dawn, to the aid of injured in Khalidiyah – on 4/02/2012- the shelling hit him in the head, chest and leg, and died three hours later in hospital," as one of his friends stated to AFP.

Tayyara’s friend, Razan Arkah, spoke to the British Channel 4 from London, and mentioned that the citizen journalist Tayyara was one of the prominent activists in Homs who gave constant updates about what is happening in the city of Homs.

Tayyara gave his updates under the pseudoname "Omar Ostalvezta." He spoke both English and French and was in contact with several international media outlets like AFP, CNN, Al-Jazeera as well as German newspapers Die Welt and Der Spiegel.

In this video clip made by Tayyara’s friends that has been circulated on the web, it mentions that the journalist was behind organizing a demonstration of Muslims and Christians in Homs in an attempt to support the civil peace and unity. The video also shows the videos that Tayyara had filmed and sent to AFP. The video also shows Tayyara’s interviews with the Guardian newspaper.

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression strongly condemns the killing of citizen journalist Mohamed Mazhar Mohammad Omar Tayyara, and demands the Syrian authorities to open an immediate and transparent investigation on the circumstances that led to his death in Homs, especially that he was exercising his right to freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by the Syrian constitution which clearly stated that Syrian citizens have the right to "freedom, dignity and free expression, also their right to participate in political life." Accordingly, the Syrian constitution considers any "attack on the rights of citizens, whether arrest, torture or surveillance " a clear violation of their rights based on articles 25 to 29 and from 31 to 39 and from 45 to 48.

Note that Tayyara is sixth media worker to be killed in Syria after Suleiman Saleh Ibazid (shield) and Farzat Jarban, Basil Sayyed, Gilles Jacques (Homs) and Shukri Burghul (Darayya, Damascus Suburbs).

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression’s staff express thir deepest condolences to the family and friends of Omar Tayyara, and to all of the journalists, bloggers and activists who exercise their constitutional right to express their opinions.