A Syracuse film student was killed in Syria on Monday night as he filmed the aftermath of the Houla massacre, Isolde Raftery of msnbc.com reports. Bassel Shahade, born and raised in Damascus, was a Fulbright Scholar pursuing a master of fine arts in film degree, according to a statement released by Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor.
Other reports say he was killed in Homs (which is about 30 miles from Houla).
Owen Shapiro, a film professor and coordinator of the film program at the central New York university, said Shahade was well aware of the dangers he faced when he left school after the fall semester but that he was determined to tell the story of the uprising.
“He said: ‘I have to be with my people. I can’t be here with what’s going on in Syria,'” Shapiro recalled.
“He was very brave and willing to take the risk,” he said. “He wanted the story told of what was happening in his country.”
Shahade, 28, taught video-editing to the photographers in Homs and trained more than fifteen people during his stay there, according to The-Syrian (which has posted a number of his films).
Shahade was no stranger to adventure — he once motorcycled from Damascus to New Delhi — and his film Brakes won a grant for “Best Syrian Doc Project” at the 2011 Dox Box documentary film festival in Damascus, according to Al-Akhbar English.
In late December Shahade spoke with Democracy Now! from an apartment in Damascus and spoke about ruthless violence he witnessed being committed by Syrian government forces in Homs. He spoke quietly so that security forces outside the room couldn’t hear him as they cracked down on protesters.
“Thousands of detainees are still in the prisons,” Shahade told Democracy Now! “Among them are tens of my friends. They are not terrorists. They are filmmakers, journalists, doctors, lawyers. They are very high intellectual people and activists.”
A Facebook page titled “Bassel Shahade Singing For Freedom” has been created in tribute.
Here is a video produced by Shahade and based on an interview with a boy who survived the 2006 war in Lebanon:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.