An American journalist and documentary filmmaker reporting from Syrian rebel-controlled territory near Aleppo says he was nearly killed in what he suspects was a drone strike last Sunday. Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American citizen originally from New York, was sitting in a car with his driver outside the village of Khan Touman, he reports, when a missile struck nearby the vehicle.
“We heard some drones traveling overhead about half an hour before, which is not uncommon, but there were none of the screams that you normally hear before an airstrike,” Abdul Kareem told The Intercept. “We were sitting in the car, and then all of a sudden, everything went black. It felt like the earth had split open and we’d fallen into it. In reality, the explosion had sent the car into the air.”
A video Abdul Kareem posted after the bombing on his YouTube channel showed the damage to the vehicle, as well as his camera equipment. He says this is the fourth airstrike that has nearly hit him in the past month. Given the frequency of the near-misses, Abdul Kareem believes he is being targeted. “Locals had told me that I was being targeted by someone, but I hadn’t believed it before,” he says. “I just chalked it up to being in a war zone — bad things happen — but now it seems clear that someone is targeting me.”
Abdul Kareem is one of the last Western journalists covering the conflict in Syria from rebel-controlled territory. Earlier this year, he helped produce a series of exclusive CNN reports from Syria with journalist Clarissa Ward. His reporting has also been featured on the British outlets Channel 4 and Sky News.