US Citizen, Press TV reporter dead in car crash near Syria 2 days after Turkey calls her a spy
American journalist Serena Shim has been killed in a car crash in Turkey just days after Turkish intelligence services had accused her of spying. She was reporting on the siege involving ISIS in Kobani at Syria’s border. Shim was a US citizen though she worked for Iran’s state-owned Press TV as correspondent in Turkey and other regions.
She was returning her hotel in the city of Suruç when her car crashed into a ‘heavy vehicle’. The Daily Mail reports the car collided with a cement truck.
A news report out of Turkey claims that the driver of the truck was arrested at the scene.
Hurriyet Daily News
Shim, who had been covering the battle for Kobane for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq and Ukraine, was killed, while cameraman Judy Irish was injured in the crash. The driver of the concrete mixer that hit the reporter’s car has been arrested, although his identity has not been released, according to Doğan News Agency. Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu Agency reported that Shim had arrived in Suruç last week.
Her death comes only 2 days after a video interview where she detailed her fears of being arrested, claiming Turkish intelligence agents had threatened her after her reports suggested ISIS militants were being smuggled back and forth over the Syrian border in the back of NGO aid vehicles.
Officials in Turkey and the United States have been in a war of words highlighted by VP Joe Biden saying that Turkey had allowed too many fighters (of 30,000+) to cross the border into Syria, which doesn’t fully explain the origins of ISIS. This is one secret that is reported in the open which raises questions about who the Syrian rebels really are and how they have such easy access to the border region. Western intelligence, through Turkey and Israel is largely responsible for the vacuum allowing ISIS to cover the territory that it holds now.
The Turkish government (and the US) has made it clear the targets are really the Kurds, and Assad in Syria, contrary to the hype about ISIS. The US has made it clear that the war is also about oil, along with the longer term gas wars.
Press TV anchor: “Turkish intelligence agencies has now accused one of our correspondents of being a spy
“Serena, are you a spy?”
Serena Shim: No, not at all. I’m very surprised at this accusation, I’ve even thought of actually approaching Turkish intelligence because I have nothing to hide and I’ve never done anything aside from my job and I’d like to make that apparent to them.
However, I am a bit worried because as you know and as the viewers know that Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists, so I am a bit frightened about what they might use against me.
We were some of the first people on the ground, if not the first people to give that story of those Takfiri militants going in through the Turkish border from Bab al Hawa, Reyhanli border [crossing], being sent in.
I got images of them in World Food Organization trucks. It was very apparent that they were Takfiri militants by their beards and by the clothes that they wore and they were going in there with NGO trucks and I just find it very odd, they went to several local residents here and asked about me.
The residents said ‘no, we know her, we have seen her before, we’ve seen her work, she’s not a spy’, and they were going through with the fact that yes I actually am and they told any people that if they see me to bring me or or give them a phone call.
So I find it odd. I don’t see why they’re taking this action against me at this point, I think that it may be because of some of my previous stories that have aired because now in the area of Kobani, we haven’t been inside, we’ve been telling the story from the Turkish side of the border.
There’s other international news agencies there as well. I don’t know how they tell their stories or how accurate their stories are, and if that is why they have pinpointed me in this put-together incident.
Oh, but I have spoken to a lawyer because if they do take me in, I do want to be ready and I want to be able to see where we can take this case legally.
I think that it’s definitely about the reporting from Syria and part ic from the city of Hattay , not necessarily from the city of Kobani, it’s obvious moreso what’s happening there.
The other reports that I had done were about at the time, the so called Free Syrian Army going in, and catching these Takfiri militants and getting the passport stamps and getting firsthand information that they were actually inside while Turkey was still hiding them. about
I think this has a lot to do with it and I think they want to know why I’m back.
Another thing that they said is that I’m spying and I’m working with the Turkish opposition… but it’s only logical that I would speak with the Turkish opposition just the same way that I would speak with other parties… because that’s my job.
So obviously there’s some fear there.
I kinda wonder what’s happening. The situation in Kobani now… I’ve been hearing… there’s going to be more training camps… to send into Syria…
I wonder if they think that I’m going to focus on a different area and that I’m using the umbrella of Kobani and I’m actually getting in here to do some kind of investigative journalism because I don’t see it just being specifically in that area and it gives me the feeling that something is boiling and something is brewing that they think I’m here to catch.
“And Serena if you could just venture an opinion on what may happen next because you’re going to continue reporting on the ground as far as Kobani is concerned and of course you’ve been reporting as transparently as possible and it seems that the Turkish government isn’t very happy with that.”
… I would assume that they’re going to take me in for questioning my the next hope is that my lawyer is good enough to get me off as soon as possible.
“do you think that this campaign by Turkish intelligence against you is also a warning for other journalists reporting on the ground over what and how they might report”
I definitely do.
I’ve been reporting about that for a year or so previously…
… it’s known, that Turkey has this clampdown on journalists. I’ve been stopped by them before, but not necessarily to this level, just by police basically, no different than any other country.
… but for the intelligence to actually look for me, that’s rather odd, so I think that they’re trying to get the word out to journalists to be careful so much as to what they say.