On 26 January 2016, Samer Mohammed Aboud was murdered in Deiz ez-Zor. The 33 year old was a journalist and writer before the city fell to Daesh. He had worked as a reporter and producer for Free Deir al-Zour Radio since 2012, a radio station opposed to the Syrian government and to Daesh. He then remained in the city as an independent journalist despite the potential threats to his life. In this capacity he changed the focus of his reporting from politics to social issues in order not to draw the ire of the new regime.
Nevertheless Aboud was targeted by Daesh who accused him of “treason” and working for the west by giving information and coordinates to hostile groups. He was abducted and forced to admit on video that he was working for the news website Development Interaction Network and had reported battlefield movements. He was then stabbed in the neck.
On the same day Daesh executed four other journalists in the city of Deiz ez-Zor in similarly cruel fashion. All of these killings were published on social media by the organisation in an attempt to silence future dissent and reinforce their brutally totalitarian regime. Abu Abdul Rahman, a colleague of Aboud at Free Deir al-Zour Radio said that their reporters continue to collate daily news, but often struggle to broadcast, fearing repercussions from the militant group.