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Concern is growing for Channel 4 News journalist Waad Al Kateab as regime forces close in on Aleppo

By Freddy Mayhew

Concern for Channel 4 News journalist Waad Al Kateab has grown as regime and Russian forces close in on rebel-held Aleppo where the pregnant mother-of-one is currently trapped.

She is understood to be sheltering with a group of doctors and nurses, including her husband and 11-month-old daughter, as Assad forces close in on all sides.

“We are hugely concerned for her wellbeing and those of the doctors and nurses that she is with,” said a Channel 4 News spokesperson.

Kateab, who was born in Syria and studied at Aleppo University, has worked for the channel since January.

Her reports showing life in the besieged city of Aleppo have won her acclaim, including the prize for Foreign Affairs Journalism at this week’s British Journalism Awards.

They have also caught the attention of the Syrian government, particularly as snippets of her reports that are dispatched to Channel 4 News can be viewed and shared multiple times on Facebook.

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“Waad is one of the most courageous filmmakers we have ever worked with at Channel 4 News,” said a spokesperson.

“She is dedicated to telling the story of Syria’s destruction and has been doing so at great personal risk.”

The programme’s foreign editor Mavine Mabro told Press Gazette that a hospital where Kateab was staying on Saturday had fallen into regime hands by Sunday, such was the pace of the siege.

Mabro said she had exchanged messages with Kateab and that she had seemed “very scared” yesterday but was “a little more upbeat” today.

Her message yesterday read: “I am trapped in Aleppo filming and recording what is happening with a group of 30 doctors and medical staff.

“I still have hope but we feel no one is listening or doing anything to save us. I spend my evenings hugging my baby daughter who is terrified by the noise as the bombs fall.

“At night I dream of my perished city Aleppo. All its people are asking you to remember your humanity. If you are listening, please help.”

Mabro said the best outcome for Kateab would be for the government to agree on a safe passage out of the city for its remaining civilian citizens where she could reach an organisation like the United Nations.

Earlier this month, Channel 4 journalist Krishnan Guru-Murphy was allowed access into Syria by its government for a series of special reports.

Speaking at the British Journalism Awards on Tuesday night, Channel 4 News editor Ben De Pear said: “We are desperately worried about Waad. We appeal to the Syrian government to show mercy to the civilians and the journalists out there.”

 

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