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Syrian activist shot by Islamic State fighters in southeast Turkey, in critical condition

Arthur Sotloff, the father of slain journalist Steven Sotloff, who was captured in August of 2013 and killed in Syria earlier this year, uses a torch to light the first candle of Hanukkah. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Istanbul Jun 13, 2016, 10.22 AM (IST)
A Syrian journalist campaigning against the Islamic State was shot by fighters from the group in southeastern Turkey, a news agency affiliated with the radical Islamists and Syrian activists said today.

Ahmed Abdulkader was shot in the head by two Islamic State militants riding a motorcycle and is being treated in the intensive care unit of Sanliurfa state hospital, an official in the provincial governor's office said.

The Amaq news agency, which is close to Islamic State, said Abdulkader was the head of a local newspaper and one of the founders of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently", a campaign group against the radical militants.

His attempted killing is the fifth such attack in the past eight months targeting Syrian anti-Islamic State activists in Turkey's southeast, parts of which are held by the radical militants. None of the others survived.

Among the four killed was Abdulkader's 27-year-old brother, Ibrahim, a member of the same campaign group who was shot in the head and beheaded along with a fellow activist at his home in Sanliurfa last October.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member Turkey has increasingly become a target for the Islamic State. The group has been blamed for two suicide bombings in Istanbul this year and has carried out targeted killings in the southern cities of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa, both hubs for Syrian activists trying to document the war. (Reuters)

An online broadcaster for Aleppo Today, who was shot in the neck in April, died at the hospital two days later. That attack came three months after a Syrian documentary maker was gunned down in Gaziantep. Both killings were blamed on the Islamic State.

Turkey has long faced criticism for failing to do more to prevent thousands of suspected foreign fighters from crossing its territory to join the ranks of Islamic State in Syria.

Since last July, border security has been tightened. Turkey has also helped to facilitate joint air strikes with US-led coalition aircraft on Islamic State positions in northern Syria, and the military has ramped up artillery fire in response to cross-border shelling.
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