Sunday, December 15, 2013

Radical Islamists embedded among the rebels in Syria are reportedly targeting foreign journalists for abduction

    Sunday, December 15, 2013   No comments

Radical Islamists embedded among the rebels in Syria are reportedly targeting foreign journalists for abduction. Instead of holding them for ransom, however, they use them as trump cards in their power struggles with more moderate rebel groups.

It was Sept. 16. The two Spaniards had almost made it to safety. Journalists Javiar Espinosa and Ricardo García, as well as their escorts, fighters with the Free Syrian Army, were hardly 15 minutes by car from the Turkish border when they were stopped at the last checkpoint within Syrian territory and abducted.

Some of their escorts were subsequently freed. From them, it is known that the men at the checkpoint were members of the extremist rebel group "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
The two Spaniards were a big catch for the radical Islamists. Since early last summer, ISIS and other extremist groups have apparently shifted their strategy and begun targeting foreign reporters for abduction. On Tuesday, Ayman Mhanna, executive director of the Beirut-based SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, said that 20 foreign journalists are being held captive in Syria. Some of the missing journalists are in the hands of the regime, he added, but the majority are captives of extremist groups.

And these are not the only missing reporters. In addition to foreign journalists, Mhanna says, about 10 Syrian journalists have been kidnapped and are being held. Since fighting broke out in the spring of 2011, roughly 55 journalists have lost their lives in Syria.

Isr Ed

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