Clarissa Ward: Syria Coverage Difficult ‘for security and safety, but also emotionally’

By Merrill Knox Comment

Since fighting began in Syria, 26 journalists have been killed in the region. American Journalism Review talks to some of the reporters who have snuck into the country to report on the violence, including CBS News’ Clarissa Ward, who has visited Syria six times since she joined CBS:

On one occasion, the journalists followed Abu Ibrahim and his younger brother Azzu into battle. A video clip aired on CBS shows Ibrahim struggling to drag the limp body of a fallen comrade to safety under heavy gunfire. The rebels had no radio communications and Ibrahim “could not have known that on the other side of the road his brother Azzu also had been shot,” Ward reported.

Ward was in the room when women in the family learned of Azzu’s death and collapsed in grief. His body, along with others killed in the fight, was placed in a hall below the house. At breakfast the next day, Ward sat silently, watching as Ibrahim picked up a piece of traditional flatbread. “He was chewing and chewing, but he couldn’t swallow. Suddenly, he just started to sob. I cried with him,” she recalls. Later, the elder brother led the funeral procession.

Ward has covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, she says, “I never experienced anything like what I saw in Syria. It has been one of the toughest conflicts to cover for security and safety, but also emotionally. Logistically, it is unbelievably challenging.”