SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Syrian security forces arrest journalist Bassam Safar at Damascus checkpoint

Thursday , 01 July 2021

On June 24, Syrian government security forces arrested journalist Bassam Safar, an editor on cultural topics for the North Press Agency, a news website supportive of the Syrian Democratic Forces opposition group, when he arrived at the Bab Sharqi checkpoint in eastern Damascus en route to his home, according to news reportsa statement by the regional press freedom group SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, and statements by his employer and Syria’s banned opposition Communist Labor Party, of which Safar is a member.

Authorities have not disclosed the reason for his arrest or where he is being held, according to those sources. CPJ emailed the Syrian Interior Ministry for comment, but did not immediately receive any reply. 


The North Press Agency and Communist Labor Party reports state that, earlier in June, authorities held Safar for two days after he returned to Damascus from the city of Qamishli, but did not state any reason for that detention.

Safar was imprisoned from 1986 and 1991 because of his affiliation with the Communist Labor Party, according to those reports.

According to those news reports, Safar had recently met with officials from the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, a leftist opposition umbrella group of which he is a member of the executive committee, to discuss the country’s presidential elections.

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