Salma Abdelaziz is a Correspondent for CNN based in London.
For a decade, Abdelaziz has produced award-winning content from frontlines across the world from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan and Yemen.
At CNN, Abdelaziz recently reported on the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK. Her report on a viral photo showing an anti-racism demonstrator shouldering a white counter-protestor to safety was viewed by millions online. She also reported on British Black nurses battling the twin pandemics of racism and coronavirus with little acknowledgement or support from their government. Abdelaziz also uncovered links between Liverpool’s local officials and American neo-Confederate groups that have frequented the British port city.
Earlier in 2020, Abdelaziz returned to Iraq with Ward to cover the aftermath of the US targeted strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The pair were the first to gain access to the site of an Iranian missile strike where shrapnel still lay in the craters.
In 2019, Abdelaziz traveled to Yemen with Senior International Correspondent Nima Elbagir to continue their ‘Made in America’ investigation into the use and transferring of American-made weapons from the Saudi-led coalition to al Qaeda-linked groups and other hardline militias in Yemen. It followed the pair’s August 2018 report which confirmed the bomb that killed 40 children on a school bus in Yemen was made in the US. The report earned two Emmy nominations in 2020.
Alongside Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward, they gained unprecedented access to Taliban-controlled territory in Afghanistan producing the exclusive report, ’36 Hours with the Taliban.’ The pair interviewed local Taliban leaders, spent time at a children’s madrasa run by the group, and filmed an extremely rare gathering of dozens of their fighters made in defiance of persistent US airstrikes.
Between 2016 and 2018, Abdelaziz was instrumental in CNN’s coverage of the fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, spending months in the region working with CNN’s senior correspondents. In 2016, she traveled with International Correspondent Phil Black to northern Iraq to report on the human toll of the battle to expel the terror group- from children killed by stray mortars to neighborhoods choked with black smoke after ISIS blew up dozens of oil wells. She returned in July of 2017 with International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh to cover the final battle for Mosul from the frontlines of the fight. The pair also gained rare access inside the Old City of Raqqa, as rebels and international forces tightened their circle around ISIS’ de facto capital. The teams she produced between 2016-2018 received three Emmy Wins for Outstanding Breaking News Coverage and two Peabody Awards.
In 2016 she moved to the London Bureau and was promoted to Field Producer. For her first assignment in the new role, Abdelaziz and Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward traveled undercover to rebel-held areas in Syria, where almost no Western journalists had visited in over a year, to report on life under Russian and regime bombardment. To date, ‘Undercover in Syria’ has been recognized with a Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award for ‘News Series’ and the Overseas Press Club’s David Kaplan Award.
In November 2015, she arrived hours after ISIS-linked terrorists attacked multiple sites across Paris killing 130 people. Abdelaziz worked with the network’s Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward, for weeks they followed authorities as they hunted down the terror suspects and reported on Parisians reeling in the aftermath.
During the 2014 Israeli incursion into Gaza, Abdelaziz was CNN’s only Arabic-speaking producer inside the Hamas-controlled strip leading live on-the-ground coverage during near constant bombardment. She also produced compelling reports from the rubble of the conflict interviewing families forced to flee their homes and children struck by shells as they played in the streets.
In 2013, Abdelaziz embarked on her first major field assignment to her birth nation of Egypt. She worked as the Cairo bureau producer during one of the bloodiest periods in Egypt’s modern history spanning from the military overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsy to the violent crackdown on the Rabaa sit-in when security forces killed hundreds of protestors in broad daylight.
Abdelaziz joined CNN in June 2010 as a Social Media Researcher at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta where she developed a system to mine social media for breaking news alerts. In January 2011, she was promoted to International Assignment Editor, managing the daily editorial, logistical and technical details essential to CNN’s newsgathering teams on the ground. A native Arabic speaker, Abdelaziz was instrumental to CNN’s coverage of the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War. She wrote, pitched, and published dozens of original stories for CNN digital including “Death and Desecration in Syria,” the most clicked article of 2014 on CNN’s international site.
She was named the 2018 Association for International Broadcasting’s ‘Breakthrough Talent,’ and has earned multiple honors alongside the network’s top talent.
Abdelaziz was born in Shibin el-Kom, Egypt and moved to the United States with her family as a baby. She holds a B.S. in International Affairs from Georgia Tech and an M.A. in Mass Communication from Georgia State University.