March 31st, 2014
December 10th, 2013
Spanish photojournalist Ricardo Garcia-Vilanova and reporter Javier Espinosa were freed by their Syrian captors Saturday night, 194 days after they were kidnapped while attempting to cover the Syrian civil war for the Spanish daily El Mundo, according to reports by NPPA and other news outlets.
Espinosa is a staff reporter for the Spanish daily El Mundo. Garcia-Vilanova, a freelancer, was on assignment with Espinosa when they were abducted by an Al-Qaeda affiliates at a checkpoint, shortly after crossing into Syria from Turkey last September 16.
Both men were reportedly in good health when they were released to Turkish authorities, and have since been re-united with their families in Spain.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Syria ranks as the world’s most dangerous place for journalists, who “are targeted, kidnapped by all sides in the conflict.”
Spanish Photographer and Reporter Abducted by Al-Qaeda Affiliate in Syria
Freelance Photographer Killed in Syria
Freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova and reporter Javier Espinosa of El Mundo were abducted in Syria on September 16, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The families of the journalists made the news of their capture public today. According to CPJ, they were abducted at gunpoint at a checkpoint near tal-Abyad in northern Syria and taken to a detention center run by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, an Al-Qaeda affiliate that has been operating in Syria amidst fighting between the Syrian Army and rebels opposed to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Vilanova has been covering the conflict in Syria for over a year; his photos have been published by CNN Photos and Al Jazeera. At the time of their abduction, Vilanova and Espinosa were accompanied by four soldiers of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group; the soldiers were released two weeks after they were captured alongside the journalists.
CPJ ranks Syria as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. Since the uprising began, numerous journalists have been abducted or murdered.
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