Journalist shot dead in Syria
A correspondent for Iran's English-language Press TV was shot dead by a sniper in Syria and its Damascus bureau chief was wounded, Press TV reported today.
"Insurgents in the Syrian capital Damascus have attacked Press TV staff and killed one of our reporters," anchor Bardia Honardar said on air.
Maya Naser, Press TV's correspondent in Damascus, was shot in the neck and Hussein Murtada, the channel's Damascus bureau chief, was injured in the attack while the two were covering twin bombings today that targeted one of Syria's top military command buildings in the capital, Press TV said.
Mr Murtada, who is also bureau chief for Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam, was injured earlier this month while traveling with Syrian government forces when armed men ambushed them, Al-Alam reported.
More than 20 foreign and Syrian journalists have been killed in Syria since the revolt against president Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Iran has supported Dr Assad, its sole Arab ally, as he attempts to suppress the uprising.
Syrian rebels claimed responsibility for the twin bombings, which gutted the army command headquarters.
Four security guards were killed and 14 civilians and security personnel were wounded in the blasts, Syrian state television quoted a military source as saying.
The Free Syrian Army, the main rebel force fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, claimed responsibility for the attack in the heart of the capital that ignited a fire that gutted the army command headquarters.
It was the biggest attack in Damascus since July 18th when a blast killed several senior security officials, including Dr Assad's brother-in-law, the defence minister and a general.
Today's attack took place as international leaders met at the United Nations, where deadlock between world powers over Syria has blocked any global response to the conflict which activists say has killed 27,000 people, forced a quarter of a million refugees to flee the country and left 2.5 million people in need of help.
The uprising, which erupted in March last year as mainly peaceful protests for reform, has become an armed insurgency pitting mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against Dr Assad, from the Alawite faith which is close to Shia Islam.
Shia Iran supports Dr Assad while regional Sunni powers have backed the rebels. One Sunni leader, the Emir of Qatar, told the United Nations that Arab countries should intervene "to stop the bloodshed", but few Arab states are likely to back his call.
UN special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said Syria's crisis was "extremely bad and getting worse."