Press TV – Five years following her death, Press TV reporter Serena Shim is remembered to be among the first journalists to have reported the extent of Turkey’s role in instigating the ongoing bloody terrorist insurgency in neighboring Syria, a daring act of investigative journalism for which she paid for with her life.
On October 19, 2014, Shim, along with her camerawoman, was returning to their hotel after preparing a report near the Syrian city of Kobani south of the Turkish border, where a heated battle was taking place between the Daesh Takfiri group and the city’s defendants.
On their way back, however, a truck crashed into their vehicle.
Early reports claimed that Shim died at the scene while later accounts suggested that she passed away due to heart failure after being transferred to hospital nearly 30 minutes later.
Shim’s camerawoman, who had been transported to a different hospital, survived the incident.
Turkish authorities blamed Shim’s camerawoman, who had been driving the vehicle, for the crash. No further inquiry was reported to have been carried out by Ankara.
Many doubts, however, linger regarding the official testimony provided by the Turkish officials.
The journalist’s tragic death came only two days after Shim had spoken out live on Press TV about being targeted by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), who had accused her of being a “spy” while the journalist covered the latest developments in Turkey and Syria.
“I am a bit worried, because as you know and as the viewers know, Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists, so I am a bit frightened what they might use against me.”
Shim explained that she had been targeted for her investigative reports regarding Ankara’s direct support for terrorist groups, such as Daesh in Syria, whose evidence had been largely concealed at the time.
“We were some of the first people on the ground, if not the first people on the ground, to get that story of those Takfiri militants going in through the Turkish border — the Bab al-Hawa border — being sent in. I’ve got images of them in World Food Organization trucks. It was very apparent that they were Takfiri militants by their beards and by the clothes that they wore. And they were going in there with NGO trucks,” she said.
Five years following her unfortunate death, no further information has been released regarding the fatal accident.
Observers have pointed that “car accidents” have been a “commonplace method” used by the MIT to get rid of people it doesn’t like.
Two weeks after the incident, the US State Department issued a brief statement regarding Shim, who was an American citizen of Lebanese origin, saying that it “does not conduct investigations into deaths overseas.”
The 29-year-old reporter had been described by her colleagues as an aspiring journalist with much potential. The young journalist had spent years working in various dangerous conflict zones such as Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine.
Shim left behind two children, a two-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.
Three days following her death, the young journalist was laid to rest in a cemetery in the Bourj el-Barajneh neighborhood in the southern suburbs of Beirut.
It was reported that “thousands” participated in her funeral. “People came from all over,” her sister Fatmeh Shim said.
“Everyone was clapping and screaming: ‘The hero’s here! The hero’s here! The hero’s here!'”, she recounted.
Shim is not the only member of the Press TV family to have lost her life while on duty. Press TV’s Syria correspondent Maya Nasser was killed by Takfiri militants while covering a terrorist assault on the Syrian capital Damascus in 2012. Habibollah Hosseinzadeh, a cameraman working for Press TV, was also killed in a Daesh terrorist attack in the Afghan capital Kabul in 2017.
The fifth anniversary of the tragic death of Shim comes as Turkey has launched a devastating assault against the Kurdish-controlled region of northeast Syria in the past week.
Consequently, more than 130,000 Syrians have been forced from their homes in what human rights organizations warn may potentially turn into a humanitarian crisis.
On Sunday, the Syrian army announced that it had dispatched several units to “confront the Turkish army’s aggression.”
The Turkish government has has been accused of supporting various terrorist groups seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the offset of the foreign-backed insurgency eight years ago.