US-Lebanese reporter dies in Turkey, Iranian TV calls accident ‘suspicious’

Lebanese-American reporter Serena Shim, 30, was married with two children.

A Lebanese-American reporter has been killed in a car crash near Turkey’s border with Syria, in what the state-owned Iranian TV station she worked for described as a “suspicious” accident.

Serena Shim, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen of Lebanese origin, was killed on Oct. 19 while she was returning to her hotel from the scene in the city of Suruç in Turkey’s Şanlıurfa province when the car her team had rented collided with a heavy vehicle.

Shim, who had been covering the battle for Kobane for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq and Ukraine, was killed, while cameraman Judy Irish was injured in the crash. The driver of the concrete mixer that hit the reporter’s car has been arrested, although his identity has not been released, according to Doğan News Agency. Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu Agency reported that Shim had arrived in Suruç last week.

On Oct. 17, Shim told Press TV that the Turkish intelligence agency had accused her of spying “probably due to some of the stories she had covered about Turkey’s stance on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] militants in Kobane” across the border from Suruç, adding that she feared being arrested. She also claimed that she had received images of militants crossing the Turkish border into Syria in World Food Organization and other NGOs trucks.

İzzettin Küçük, governor of Şanlıurfa, denied Press TV’s claims, describing the allegations as “completely baseless.” After stressing that a detailed explanation about Shim’s death would be made after the investigation is concluded, Küçük said the claims were “attempts to put Turkey in a difficult situation.”

Hard to know what to make of this.  Certainly Turkey is on the defensive over Kobani (aka Kobane), but PressTV is very unreliable. From what I have gathered from reading numerous memoirs of Iranian ex-pats, arranging vehicle accidents is a technique used by the Iranians themselves.

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