Bashar Fahmi Kadumi, a reporter for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Al-Hurra and a Jordanian national of Palestinian origin, and his colleague Cüneyt Ünal, a Turkish cameraman for the broadcaster, were reported missing while covering events in the northwestern city of Aleppo on August 20, 2012.
Six days later, Ünal appeared in a video, saying he had been taken captive while reporting in Syria. He did not explicitly name his captors, although the video appeared on a pro-government television channel, and he made no mention of Fahmi.
On November 17, 2012, after 90 days in captivity, Ünal was released by the Syrian government and handed over to a delegation of Turkish opposition MPs in Damascus, according to news reports and his employer.
Shortly after his release, Ünal told Turkish broadcaster NTV that he and Fahmi were trapped while covering the clashes in Aleppo in which Japanese photojournalist Mika Yamamoto was killed and Fahmi was wounded, according to Al-Hurra.
In the NTV interview, Ünal said Fahmi had been injured during their reporting, and said that he took Fahmi to a residential building in Aleppo to receive first aid. Ünal then left the area to look for help, and was detained by a group of people who turned him over to Syrian government forces; he said he never saw Fahmi again and did not know if he was dead or alive.
In July 2019, Ahmet Algüvercin, a journalist for the Turkish broadcaster Kanal 7 who organized protests in Turkey to call for Fahmi’s release, told CPJ that neither Al-Hurra nor Fahmi’s family were actively looking for him.
According to Algüvercin, Fahmi’s wife welcomes international efforts to find him, but she decided to give up searching for him for the sake of their children’s mental health.
Ünal was the last person who saw Fahmi alive and he didn’t consider Fahmi’s wounds to be life threatening, Algüvercin told CPJ.
Algüvercin added that the journalist’s family had not received any information from the Syrian authorities or other parties about Fahmi’s fate or whereabouts.