Video emerges of Ukrainian journalist kidnapped by Syrian rebels

Video emerges of Ukrainian journalist kidnapped by Syrian rebels

An internet video has surfaced of Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva who was kidnapped by the Syrian rebels on October 9.
article image
YouTube image grab of Ankhar Kochneva.

 

Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva, captured by Syrian rebels on October 9, requested in a video posted online by activists that the Syrian, Ukrainian and Russian authorities meet the demands of her captors.

"I'm Ankhar and I am currently in the city of Homs. I ask the Ukrainian embassy, the Russian embassy and the Syrian government to meet the kidnappers' demands," said the reporter, who appeared to be in good health, in Arabic.

The 15 sec video was posted to YouTube under the title: "The Ukrainian spy working with Russian officers is in the hands of the Free Syrian Army," the main rebel fighting force in Syria.

Kochneva, who worked as an interpreter for a Russian-language television channel in Syria at the time of her abduction, did not herself specify who the kidnappers were or their demands. The journalist has also been working as a freelancer for various media outlets such as Russia's NTV and Russia Today television.

Kochneva has publicly defended Bashar al-Assad’s regime on Syrian television and had received threats from the rebels, according to one of her friends in the Russian press.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has briefed the government to take urgent measures to free Kochneva. The Russian Embassy in Damascus said it is working with local authorities and the Ukrainian Embassy to locate the missing journalist.

Three other foreign journalists have been missing in Syria since August.

Cunyet Unal and Bashar Fahmi, reporters for the Washington-based Arabic-language television channel Al-Hurra, disappeared in the northern province of Aleppo on August 20.

And US freelance journalist Austin Tice disappeared on August 13 in the suburbs of Damascus. An Internet video had surfaced on September 26 on YouTube that did appear to show him, blindfolded, but that it lacked enough information to draw conclusions about his current condition or whereabouts.

Many local and foreign journalists throughout Syria have been targeted during the ongoing Syrian revolution. The death toll of reporters and citizen journalists killed in Syria since the beginning of the regime's campaign to flush out anti-government protests has jumped to 76, according to the Doha Centre for Media Freedom.

Source: AFP, DCMF

 

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