Jihadists execute Iraqi cameraman in Syria: Press freedom watchdog

BEIRUT (AFP) - Rebels loyal to Al-Qaeda have kidnapped and executed an Iraqi freelance cameraman working in northern Syria, a press freedom watchdog told AFP on Thursday.

"Yasser Faysal al-Joumaili's execution was the first of a foreign journalist in Syria's so-called liberated areas," said Ms Soazig Dollet, head of Reporters Without Borders' Middle East and North Africa desk.

Mr Joumaili had been working as a freelance cameraman for an unidentified Spanish media outlet in strife-torn Aleppo province for about 10 days, Ms Soazig said.

He was kidnapped by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) while on his way out of Syria and executed in the north-western border province of Idlib on Wednesday, she added.

Mr Joumaili was in his early 30s and was from the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, a key battleground in the insurgency that followed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He was married and had three children.

Mr Joumaili had previously worked for Al-Jazeera English and Reuters, Ms Soazig said.

In recent months, ISIL has kidnapped dozens of Syrian activists and news providers, as well as several foreign journalists.

The group, which has its roots in Al-Qaeda's Iraq affiliate, was accused of assassinating Syrian reporter Mohammad Saeed, who worked for Al-Arabiya news channel, in his native Aleppo province in late October.