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French journalist killed by sniper fire in Syria

Jan. 18, 2013 6:31 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2013 3:21 P.M.)
ANKARA (Reuters) - A French journalist of Belgian origin, Yves Debay, has been killed by sniper fire while reporting in Syria, a Turkish official said on Friday.

Debay, who was shot once in the head and once in the chest, was brought to Turkey overnight where medical staff pronounced him dead on arrival, the official said. Syrian anti-government rebels said Debay had been shot in the northern city of Aleppo.

Debay had been working for Assaut, a French magazine he founded and which specialized in defense matters.

According to French newspaper Le Monde, Debay was born in 1954 in what was then the Belgian Congo and later took French nationality. A former soldier, Debay later moved into journalism where he specialized in war reporting.

Last year, Syria was by far the most dangerous for journalists with 28 killed, according to the watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists. Several have also been abducted in Syria during the uprising and are still missing.

Rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad have detained journalists suspected of supporting the government. Pro-Assad militia have also seized journalists, including an NBC News team who were held for five days in December.

The Syrian government tightly restricts media access.
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