Kidnapped journalists released in Syria

Two journalists of the pro-government TV station Al-Ikhbariya and their driver who were kidnapped on August 10, 2012, were freed by the Syrian army six days later, according to the state news agency SANA.

Rebels belonging to the Free Syrian Army kidnapped Yara al-Saleh, an anchor for Al-Ikhbariya, Abdullah Tubara, the station’s cameraman, and their driver, Hussam Imad, in the Damascus suburb of Al-Tal, news reports said. A third journalist, Hatem Abu Yehia, a camera assistant for Al-Ikhbariya, who was also kidnapped with the group, was killed on August 10, 2012, according to news reports.

The Free Syrian Army released a video saying Abu Yehia had been killed along with two rebel fighters on the day of the kidnapping by government shelling of Al-Tal, news reports said. However, SANA disputed the statement and quoted al-Saleh saying that Abu Yehia had been executed by the rebels and that the journalists had been mistreated by the rebels. Al-Saleh also said the rebels forced them to make a false statement about Abu Yehia’s death.

The Syrian army carried out a rescue operation to free the journalists, SANA reported.