Kidnapped Reporter in Syria Asks for Help in Online Message


A Ukrainian freelance reporter, who was abducted in Syria last month, has asked diplomats and the Syrian government to agree on terms of her release by kidnappers.

Anhar Kochneva, 40, has been missing since October 15 after she traveled alone to the city of Homs.

“My name is Anhar. I am in Homs. I implore the Ukrainian and Russian embassies, and the Syrian authorities to meet the demands of my captors,” Kochneva said in Arabic in a video message posted on a Facebook page.

She did not identify her kidnappers or specify the details of their ransom demand.

Kochneva, known as an expert on Syrian affairs and an outspoken supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, has been covering events in various parts of the conflict-torn Arab country freelancing for various media outlets, including Russia’s NTV and Russia Today television.

Her relatives earlier claimed that Kochneva had received several threats from the Syrian rebels as she had frequently criticized the opposition forces.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has instructed the government to take urgent measures to free Kochneva and the Russian Embassy in Damascus earlier said it was working in close contact with local authorities and the Ukrainian Embassy to locate the missing journalist.

At least three more foreign journalists have been missing in Syria since August.

Mika Yamamoto, a veteran war correspondent with the Japan Press, was killed in Aleppo in August, bringing to four the number of foreign reporters who have lost their lives since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011.


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