International journalists were killed in the line of duty at a higher rate in 2014 than in recent years as more correspondents traveled abroad to cover conflicts in the Middle East, eastern Ukraine and Afghanistan, according to a new report released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The CPJ report said that about 25 percent of the journalists killed in 2014 were members of the international press, an amount that is double the proportion CPJ had recorded in recent years. In total, at least 60 journalists were killed globally this year while covering stories, even as the deaths of at least 18 more journalists are being investigated to determine whether their deaths could be linked to the profession, the CPJ report said, adding that Syria continued to be the world’s deadliest country for journalists for the third year in a row.

The deaths of journalists reflect “in part the increasingly volatile nature of conflict zones in which Westerners are often deliberately targeted,” the CPJ report said. “The total number of deaths in 2014 demonstrates the sustained level of risk to journalists over the past decade. The past three years are the most deadly period CPJ has recorded.”

According to the report, the danger of working as an international journalist in the Middle East gained attention in April when Anja Niedringhaus, a German photographer for The Associated Press, was shot dead by a police officer in Afghanistan while she was covering national elections in that country.

In August, American journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012, was beheaded by members of the Islamic State group, which published a video online showing the execution. Two days after Foley’s murder, ISIS released a new video showing the beheading of another American journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, who was taken hostage in August 2013.

The report stated that over half of all journalists killed in 2014 died in the Middle East, with about 38 percent of them having died during combat or in a crossfire. The report also stated that the most common job held by journalists killed in 2014 (35 percent) was that of broadcast reporter, followed by photographer and camera operator, both at 27 percent. According to the report, 17 journalists were killed in Syria in 2014, taking the total number of deaths to 79 since the conflict began in the country in 2011.

“Syria exemplifies a global trend of journalists being targeted and killed, often simply because of the profession they pursue,” Jason Stern, a Middle East and North Africa research associate at CPJ, wrote in a blog post.

At least five journalists were killed this year in Iraq as well as Ukraine, followed by Somalia, and Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory with 4 deaths each.

Here is a list of 21 countries with the numbers of journalists killed there in 2014:

journalistskilledin2014 List of 21 countries with the numbers of journalists killed there in 2014. Photo: Committee to Protect Journalists