Abducted Swedish journalists freed in Syria: Officials

Two Swedish journalists who had been kidnapped last November in Syria have been released, Swedish and Red Cross officials say.

“The two journalists have been freed,” Sweden’s Ambassador to Syria and Lebanon Niklas Kebbon said on Wednesday, AFP reported.

The Swedish official did not provide further information regarding the people or groups who had abducted the two men–writer Magnus Falkehed and photographer Niclas Hammarstrom– while they were leaving Syria on November 25, 2013.

According to unnamed diplomatic sources, one of the journalists was released on Saturday.

Also on Wednesday, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that it transported the other from the Lebanese border town of Arsal to the capital Beirut.

“A Swedish journalist missing in Syria since November was transferred today from Arsal to our offices in Beirut. He was handed over to the Swedish ambassador,” ICRC spokeswoman Claire Kaplun said.

Meanwhile, foreign-backed Takfiri militants fighting against the government of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have abducted several journalists since the beginning of the crisis in the Middle Eastern country nearly three years ago.

In May 2013, Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva safely escaped from foreign-sponsored Syrian militants after five months of captivity in fear of execution.

Kochneva was captured at the beginning of October 2012 near the Syrian city of Homs.

Her kidnappers had repeatedly threatened to kill the journalist in December 2012 in case a $50 million ransom was not paid. They later lowered the sum to reportedly $300,000.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

According to the UN, over 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in Syria’s deadly unrest since 2011.

By Press TV


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