Naji Jerf, the 38 year old film director celebrated for his documentaries about political activism in Syria, has been shot dead in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. He was attacked in broad daylight by an assassin using a silenced gun. The attacker fled the scene and police are now investigating, though Daesh ('Islamic State') has claimed responsibility, branding the murdered man a heretic.
Jerf had recently been working with RBSS, an independent media group which received an International Press Freedom Award for its broadcasts from inside Daesh-controlled territory in Syria. The group is committed to raising the profile of political moderates allied with either Daesh nor President Assad, arguing that they represent the majority of Syrians but their voices are not being heard internationally. Others working with the group had previously been assassinated.
Jerf, who also edited Hentah magazine, knew that his life could be in danger and planned to move to France, where he had just been granted asylum, along with his wife and two children.