Freelance Photographer from Canada Killed in Syria, Government Blamed

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Nuns, who were freed after being held by rebels for over three months, arrive at the Syrian border with Lebanon
Nuns, who were freed after being held by rebels for over three months, arrive at the Syrian border with Lebanon at the Jdaydeh Yaboos crossing, early March 10, 2014. About a dozen nuns held by rebels in Syria for more than three months were released on Sunday and arrived back in Syria after traveling through Lebanon, officials and witnesses said. Witnesses at the Syrian border with Lebanon said the nuns arrived at the crossing late on Sunday night and headed toward Damascus in a minibus.

Ali Moustafa, a freelance photographer from Canada, got killed in Syria on Sunday, March 9, when one crude bomb exploded in Aleppo - according to media reports. Mr Moustafa was standing with firefighters as seven more people were killed in the explosion.

According to activist Abu al-Hassan Marea, Mr Moustafa was a victim of an attack by the Syrian government. He said that a government aircraft dropped a couple of containers laden with explosives. Those were dropped in Hadariyeh area which is held by Syrian rebels, CTV News reported. On the other hand, Justina Rosa Botelho - Mr Moustafa's sister - confirmed that her brother had been killed as she received a photograph of his lifeless body from activists.

Ms Botelho gave a telephonic interview to The Associate Press. She said that her brother was only concerned about informing the world about the "horrible" things taking place in Syria. He wanted people to know about human rights. Mr Moustafa was "passionate" about what he did, she said.

Interestingly, Mr Moustafa's family did not know that he had gone to Syria. A week back when they got in touch with him for the last time, he informed his sister that he was in Turkey. He wished his mother to know that he was "okay," Ms Botelho said. Mr Moustafa never told his sister, or his family, that he was working in Syria. Ms Botelho assumed that he tried not to reveal that.

Several journalists have either been killed or been kidnapped in Syria since the uprising started in the country in 2011.  Both the rebels and the people supporting the government of President Bashar Al-Assad have indulged in activities which harmed international journalists. Life has been especially miserable for those who freelance and do not have significant media companies providing safety insurance, equipment or training for them.

Mr Moustafa sold his photos to SIPA and EPA. Both the companies informed that Mr Moustafa's tenure of work with them was quite brief. The 29-year-old photographer was born in Toronto. His parents happen to be Portuguese and Pakistani immigrants.

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