The wife of a journalist killed in Syria has written a letter to the US President Donald Trump calling on him to “do more” to support the Irish journalist, who was killed in an airstrike by a Russian-made BUK missile.
Samantha Hickey said she and her husband Brian Hickey were working for the Irish Times when they were shot down by the Russian-built BUK air defence system in August.
In the letter, written on Sunday, Ms Hickey wrote that her husband was an “unsung hero” and a “true champion of journalism in Syria”.
“It was only the United States that stood up for me,” she wrote.
“We were both injured, but we were both able to do the job, and we were never forgotten.”
Ms Hickey was the first journalist to be killed in the war in Syria.
She was killed on the same day as journalist Robert Booth, who also died in an American airstrike in August, and journalist David Seaman, who died in a Russian airstrike on September 1.
She died in hospital two days after her husband, a former newspaper editor, was killed.
In a Facebook post, Ms Hoilett said she hoped Mr Trump would visit Ireland, where she was born and raised, and “look at the scars left by our country’s actions in the Middle East”.
“I know there will be a lot of grief and anger in the US and elsewhere about the killing of my husband, and I know I am not alone in that.
But I ask for you to understand that it is an attack on all journalists in the world,” she said.
Ms Hodge was the journalist in the lead-up to the start of the Syrian war in March 2011, when the US-led coalition began bombing Syrian rebel forces and the Islamic State group.
She was one of five journalists to be imprisoned by the coalition, which has been described as a “collateral damage” by the UN.
She later became a journalist for the Times and has written extensively about Syria and the war.
Ms Hoilettt said her husband “was always there to stand up for those who were not treated as equal”.
“His courage to speak out was what helped us in Syria and across the Middle World to know the truth,” she added.
“His bravery is what will inspire others to speak up and stand up against those who would try to silence them.”
The US and Russia have both denied that their aircraft fired a BUK, which the UN says is capable of delivering up to one kiloton of nuclear warheads.
The US military said last month it was investigating reports that Russian-backed forces had fired a surface-to-surface missile in Syria, which could have killed the journalist.
Russian defence ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Russian side had never used BUKs and was aware of no reports of any Russian missile system in Syria using them.
“Russia is currently working on an arms control agreement with the US that will enable it to deploy certain types of missile defence systems on Russian territory,” he said.