Steven Sotloff, 31, the second American freelance journalist to be executed by the ISIS militant group, spent a career reporting from combat zones until he was kidnapped last August in Syria.
Reporting for publications like Foreign Policy, TIME, World Affairs Journal, and Christian Science Monitor, Sotloff called himself on Twitter a “stand-up philosopher from Miami” and was a big Miami Heat fan.
Sotloff’s earliest journalism stems from his editorial role at Central Florida Future, his university’s school newspaper.
A week after Foley’s execution, Sotloff’s mother videotaped a message to Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling for the release of her son.
Publications featuring Sotloff’s work have republished his incredible first-person stories.
Here are some highlights of his work from the heart of the Middle East:
Sotloff reported from Egypt during the military coup ahead of the removal of President Morsi. The opening lines of his article for World Affairs Journal are a testament to his courage and passion for in-depth reporting:
When I told my Egyptian friend Ahmad Kamal that I wanted to go to the Muslim Brotherhood protest camp in Nasser City, a pallid look gripped him. “Don’t go there!” he pleaded. “They are fanatics who hate foreigners. Americans like you are in danger there.” After an hour of fruitless conversation over endless glasses of sweet tea, I rose, shook Ahmad’s hand, and headed straight to the lair where he believed I would be devoured.
While in Aleppo in 2012, Sotloff lived among approximately 3 million displaced Syrians in refugee camps near the Turkish border and wrote of their plight for
Foreign Policy. He explains how they must wait in crowded bread lines while living without heat, water, or medicine.
The regime has frequently bombed crowded bread lines staffed by rebels because they are easy targets, even for the most inexperienced fighter pilots. On Sunday, Dec. 23, dozens of civilians were killed when a fighter jet made several bombing runs over a bread line in the city of Halfaya, in the central province of Hama.
And war has brought more pedestrians concerns as well; it is not just the cost of bread that has skyrocketed. The price of everything from cooking gas to meat has doubled — and in some cases even quadrupled — since the regime withdrew from Aleppo when fighting broke out in July, taking its robust state subsidy system along with it.
Reporting from Benghazi in 2012 for TIME, Sotloff wrote about the escalation of deadly attacks in Libya:
A wave of assassinations targeting security officials has become the latest setback for a country still reeling from a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. Eight months of a revolutionary war in 2011 decimated Libya‘s already deeply flawed civic institutions. With no security organisations to ensure order and an ineffective justice system unable to prosecute suspects, Libyans fear their country is slowly crumbling around them.
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