Threatened days before car crash for her reporting on ISIS
WASHINGTON – The death of an American journalist who worked in the Middle East has come under suspicion because she had claimed days before her death that the Turkish intelligence services had threatened her over her coverage of the siege of the Syrian city of Kobani.
Serena Shim, an American citizen of Lebanese origin, was a journalist for Iran’s state-owned Press TV. She was killed in a car crash in the city of Suruc after she reportedly collided with a “heavy vehicle.”
She was in a rental car returning from her assignment when the crash occurred. Neither the “heavy vehicle” nor its driver has been located, although her driver reportedly was arrested.
Just days before her death, she had expressed concerns to colleagues and later on camera that she could be arrested by Turkish officials over her reporting. She disclosed that ISIS jihadists were being smuggled into Turkey and back into Syria in the back of humanitarian aid vehicles.
Suruc was located near the Turkish-Syrian border where most of the international media are assembled to cover the Kobani siege by ISIS.
“She was a wonderful young lady from Tennessee working as a reporter for Press TV in southern Turkey,” Franklin Lamb, an international lawyer and friend of Shim, told WND.
“She was preparing to return to the United States and to her mother,” he said. “She was a lovely young woman, smart, funny, hardworking, very American, open, optimistic. She wanted to help the world and alleviate struggle,” said Lamb.
A statement from Press TV said that Shim leaves behind two children, Ali, age 4, and Ajmal, 2.
“The tragic death of Serena Shim has left pain and sorrow in our hearts,” the statement said. “Her family is calling on the Turkish government to provide answers over the circumstance leading to her death.
“Just a couple of days ago she had been threatened by Turkish intelligence,” Press TV stated.
A few days prior to her death, Shim had spoken on camera of her fears of being arrested. She claimed Turkish intelligence agents had accused her of spying after her report of the alleged smuggling of ISIS militants.
“I’m very surprised at this accusation – I even thought of approaching Turkish intelligence because I have nothing to hide,” Shim said in the broadcast a day before she was killed.
“I am a bit worried, because … Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists … so I am frightened about what they might use against me,” she said.
Shim said that she had received images from Islamic jihadists crossing the Turkish border and was one of the few reporters covering the development.