James Foley, an American journalist was covering the ongoing Syria conflict
Damascus – Arabstoday
James Foley, an American journalist covering the ongoing conflict in Syria, is still missing, over one month after being kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on Thanksgiving Day last year
.“Jim” Foley was last seen on November 22 in Idlib province in northwestern Syria. The region has seen some of the heaviest fighting between rebel forces and the Syrian army in recent weeks.
This is the second time Foley has been kidnapped while covering conflict areas. The American reporter was abducted by forces loyal to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi while reporting on the civil war in Libya in April 2011.
Almost nothing is known about Foley’s latest captors. One witness has claimed Foley was stopped by masked men with Kalashnikovs en route to the Turkish border. However, they said, no defining had helped to distinguish the men as aligned with either Syrian rebel forces, the Assad regime or Islamist fighters inside the country.
“Over the past six weeks we have been working intensively with many parties in the United States and in the Middle East to secure Jim Foley's freedom,” GlobalPost Chief Executive and founder Philip S. Balboni said in a statement. “Jim is a brave and dedicated reporter who has spent much of the past year covering the civil war in Syria, believing like so many of his colleagues that this is a very important story for the American people to know more about. We urge his captors to release him.”
James’ family have also created a website campaigning for James’ release. “We want Jim to come safely home, or at least we need to speak with him to know he’s okay,” said John Foley, Jim's father. “Jim is an objective journalist and we appeal for the release of Jim unharmed. To the people who have Jim, please contact us so we can work together toward his release.”
A recent spate of kidnappings inside Syria saw another US journalist Richard Engel, along with three members of his team, being abducted from the same area. The journalists only managed to escape to Turkey after their captors ran into a checkpoint manned by Ahrar Al Sham, a Syrian rebel organisation.
The Vienna-based International Press Institute said recently that 2012 had been the “deadliest year” for the profession, with 132 deaths among journalists working in conflict areas.