A British and a Dutch photographer have been freed after being held hostage eight days in Syria and are now in Turkey, the Dutch foreign ministry reported.
Freelance photographers John Cantlie and Jeroen Oerlemans were kidnapped in northern Syria on July 19 and released on Thursday. The New York Times reported that they were held by a group of Islamists at a Syrian camp. It was reported that the captors were not Syrians but were probably from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Chechnya or British.
In an interview with NYT, Oerlemans said, “they were only foreign jihadis; I don’t think there was one Syrian among them. They were from all over the world, I think.” He estimated their numbers at 30 to 100. He also said the jihadists, who spoke English, talked of being under the leadership of an unidentified “emir.”
The two journalists were freed when a group of men, possibly from the Free Syrian Army entered their camp and demanded their release.
"Yesterday we got the confirmation that a Dutch photographer missing since Thursday last week was back in Turkey," foreign ministry spokesman Christoph Prommersberger told AFP, adding that Cantlie was also freed.
The Dutchman was "wounded but doing relatively well," he said. The spokesman would not say who carried out the kidnapping.
Reporters without Borders also reported the arrest of a female citizen journalist who is being held in custody for over a month.
Fatima Khaled Saad was arrested on June 28 and “has been subjected to a great deal of physical and psychological violence during her arbitrary detention, which must end,” said the press freedom organisation.
According to RWB, on July17 she was transferred to the headquarters of the military intelligence branch in Damascus where, according to some sources, she is being held in Section 291.
“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Saad and all the other journalists and citizen journalists detained in Syria,” said RWB in their press statement.
Source: AFP, DCMF