Polish journalist abducted in Syria

New York, July 25, 2013–A Polish freelance journalist was believed to have been abducted in northwest Syria on Wednesday, according to news reports citing local activists.

Reuters reported that armed men had abducted Marcin Suder during a raid on an opposition media office in the rebel-controlled city of Saraqeb in Idlib province on Wednesday. Several opposition media centers have sprung up over the country as citizen journalists and opposition activists document how the unrest has affected their communities. The report said that the gunmen were Islamist militants, but did not offer further details.

AFP cited the Local Coordination Committees, an umbrella group of Syrian opposition activists that document human rights violations, amid other regional news and events. The group also said that the gunmen beat Syrian opposition activist Manhal Barish, who was at the offices, and seized money, computers, and cameras, the sources said.

Suder, who is on assignment for Studio Melon, a Polish photo agency, has been documenting the Syrian conflict in Idlib province for the past several weeks. His most recent images, submitted to Corbis, depict children injured in the fighting.

News accounts cited Studio Melon as saying that it had seen the reports but could not confirm if Suder had been kidnapped.

A spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Suder had most likely been kidnapped.

No group has claimed responsibility for the raid or the abduction.

“Like many journalists covering Syria, Marcin Suder risked his life to bring stories about the conflict to a global audience,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “We’re deeply concerned that he’s missing and call on anyone who is holding him to release him.”

At least nine international journalists remain missing in the country, according to CPJ research.

  • For more data and analysis, see CPJ’s Syria page.