"[Journalists] are seen by the protagonists of any conflict, whether they like it or not, as being part of it. The war does not only take place on the ground, it also takes place in the media," explained Dina Matar, senior lecturer in Arab media and political communication at the University of London (SOAS).
Matar told Al Jazeera that in Syria’s sectarian conflict, like during the Lebanese civil war in 1975, local journalists might be targeted simply for belonging to a particular ethnic or religious group, or being from a specific geographic area.
"Regimes understand that there is a need for legitimacy, and a need for them to acquire legitimacy by trying to tell the story that they want to tell. If they see that a journalist is finding some gaps in that story … then they are going to target that journalist," she said, adding that Syrian journalists "are almost forgotten, they’re on the margins of history".