Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Two Spanish scribes freed in Syria  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - The Peninsula - 31/03/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Two Spanish journalists kidnapped in northern Syria last September have been freed by their captors, ending a six-month ordeal in the hands of an extremist Islamist group that continues to hold more than 40 other western hostages



Javier Espinosa, a veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo, and Ricardo Garc­a Vilanova, a freelance photographer working with him, were handed over to Turkish authorities yesterday night near the Syrian town of Tal Abiyad, not far from where they were seized 194 days ago



The pair had been held in the nearby city of Raqaa, which fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IsiL) last May and remains a stronghold of the radical organisation even after an internecine fight with other Syrian opposition groups, who ousted them from nearby Idlib and Aleppo province over the past month



It is widely believed that the bulk of the remaining hostages, comprising journalists, aid workers and priests, have also been imprisoned in Raqaa since their capture, or were moved there recently, as Isil forces retreated east with rebels in pursuit



The scale of the hostage crisis in northern Syria, in terms of the numbers held and length of their detention, exceeds most other similar incidents anywhere in the world in recent decades. The victims come from at least 10 countries, including the US, France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Peru



Until recently, there had been no communication with the hostage-takers or their proxies, and their demands had been unclear. Even after intensive efforts by European governments to make contact, no key co-ordinating figure within Isil has emerged. The fate of the captives seems contingent on the whim of local warlords



The jihadists holding the hostages are thought to be senior figures within the organisation, which has influence over a vast swath of territory from Fallujah in Iraq, through Syria's eastern deserts and oil fields, and on to Raqaa and Al Bab in eastern Aleppo province



Throughout 2013, Isil gained a foothold in Aleppo and Idlib, imposing hardline Islamist rule in towns and cities it had conquered, often through brutal, indiscriminate violence. Hostage-taking became a tool to impose both fear and influence. Prisoners were also seized in a bid to trade them for Islamist prisoners held in Syria and elsewhere



Some hostages, including James Foley, the American videographer who was seized near the northern town of Binish, have been held for more than 18 months. Others, including five European doctors from aid group Mdicins sans Frontires, were captured this year in northern Latakia. A group from the International Committee of the Red Cross was seized last October



The families of many of those held have avoided publicising their cases, fearing a raised profile may amplify their kidnappers' demands. Others, such as Espinosa's wife, Mnica Garc­a Prieto, had chosen to make public appeals directly to his captors in the hope that personalising his ordeal would advance his release



Espinosa had reported from the Middle East for much of the past 12 years and had worked extensively among opposition communities in northern and western Syria. He narrowly escaped death in Homs in February 2012, when a rocket fired by the Syrian army hit the house in which he and other reporters were staying, killing Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik



Both Spaniards were reported to be in good health. Espinosa contacted his newspaper after crossing the Turkish border. He also spoke to his wife, who in response tweeted: "Pure happiness"



After initially doing little to respond to the creeping influence of Isil in northern Syria, Turkey has in recent months attempted to stop the group's recruits from using its borders to cross into Syria. Ankara also allowed new weapons and ammunition into the country that were used by the two main opposition groups to fight Isil in a series of battles from early January, which eventually led it to withdraw to Raqaa



The toll, however, was high, with up to 2,500 opposition fighters thought to have been killed and the Syrian military and its backers able to make strategic advances around the eastern flank of Aleppo, which had remained an opposition bastion for 18 months



The regime's advance saw troops close in on the Sheikh Najjar industrial area in the city's north-east, which was being used as a base for one group of hostages, who were quickly evacuated by their captors. The changing face of the battlefield has added a new complexity to attempts to free the hostages.

 


The Peninsula




  MENA News Headlines
 Feb 1 2015 - HE Al Mahmoud Meets Croatian Deputy Premier and Interior MinisterQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud met Sunday with visiting Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the ...

 Feb 1 2015 - QNA Organizes Training Course on Media Law and CopyrightsQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Qatar News Agency will organize Monday a training course entitled "Introduction to Media Law and Copyrights". The training course comes in the framework of a series of courses ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Jordan heads the EU-Mid meeting in BrusselsJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Jordan is heading the working group of the European Union - Mid meeting in partnership with the European Union (EU), in Brussels which deals with labor and employment.It ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Jordan condemns Daesh killing of Japanese hostageJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) The government has strongly condemned the killing of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto by the Daesh terrorist group.State Minister for Media Affairs and the government ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Saudi's Acwa wins USD5b solar power project in DubaiMENAFN
(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia's power generation firm Acwa Power, which recently won a solar power project in Dubai, is bidding for 3-4 projects worth more than USD5 billion, reflecting remarkable growth in ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Palestinian Teen Killed by Israeli Fire Near NablusQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager and injured another near Nablus late Saturday, local sources said. The sources said the soldiers killed Ahmad Ibrahim Najjar, ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Israeli Forces Open Fire at Palestinian Farmers in Khan YounisQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) The Israeli Army opened fire against Palestinian farmers this morning near the border fence in the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis. Sources said that the Israeli Occupation Forces ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Ooredoo's net profit up 14.5 percent in 2014MENAFN
(MENAFN) Omani-Qatari Telecomm-unication Company SAOG (Ooredoo) posted a net profit of USD98.18 million for the financial year ending December 31, up 14.5 percent on-year, Oman Observer reported.The ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Bahrain, Sudan to discuss trade tiesMENAFN
(MENAFN) Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is hosting a meeting with a business delegation from Sudan led by Minister of Investments, Gulf Daily News reported.The delegation comprises ...

 Feb 1 2015 - Zain Bahrain posts net profit of USD10.9m in 2014MENAFN
(MENAFN) Zain Bahrain's total revenues in 2014 hit USD190.5 million, down 8.1 percent on the previous year's USD207.1 million, Gulf Daily News reported.EBITDA for the period registered USD71.09 ...

more...


 






Google

Internatinal Property Show

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help