The chief correspondent of Channel 4 News has claimed that Syrian rebels deliberately tried to get him and his crew killed by gunfire from government forces in a bid to discredit the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Alex Thomson alleged a small group from the Free Syrian Army deliberately guided the vehicle in which he and his Channel 4 News colleagues were travelling into what he described as a “free-fire zone” on a blocked road near the city of al-Qusayr, because “dead journos are bad for Damascus”.
Thomson said that after being led into a “no man’s land” between Syrian army and rebel forces by four men in a black car, his team were fired upon and forced to take evasive action, eventually managing to “floor it back to the road we’d been led in on”.
He also claimed that later on the same car of rebels blocked the road between their vehicle and the UN vehicles accompanying them, which he said prompted the UN escort to drive off and abandon them after seeing the Channel 4 team surrounded by “shouting militia”. The incident took place last weekend and Thomson is now back in the UK.
“Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow. We move out behind,” Thomson wrote in a Channel 4 News website blog published on Friday/ morning.
“We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s land,” he added.
This is not good.