Farhad Hamo, a freelance reporter working for the Kurdish broadcaster Rudaw TV, was abducted along with freelance cameraman Massoud Aqeel on December 15, 2014, by members of the Islamic State militant group on a road between the northern Syrian cities of Qamishli and Al-Ya’rubiyah, according to Rudaw and CPJ reporting.
In an interview with Rudaw in July 2016, Aqeel, who was released in a prisoner swap in September 2015, said he last saw Hamo on March 9, 2015.
The journalists were on their way to Tel Alo, a town in northern Syria, to interview a local political leader when four men carrying assault rifles, grenades, and explosive belts intercepted them and demanded they pull over, Aqeel said in the interview.
When Hamo and Aqeel identified themselves as journalists, one of the men got into their car, took their phones, and told them at gunpoint to drive to the town of Tel Hamis, Aqeel said. They drove to a school building in Tel Hamis, where two militants examined their laptops and phones before taking them to Tahmis prison, Aqeel told Rudaw.
On December 16, 2014, an Islamic State sharia court in Shadadiya sentenced the journalists to death by beheading and transferred them to a Shadadiya jail for 40 days, after which they were transferred to Raqqa’s central jail and placed in solitary confinement at the behest of Islamic State leader Abu Ayoub, Aqeel said.
In the afternoon of March 9, 2015, Aqeel saw Hamo being taken away from the prison, and did not see him again, he told Rudaw.
On February 19, 2019, Aras Hamo, Farhad’s brother and a cameraman for Rudaw TV, told CPJ that he was searching for Farhad near the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz, where the Islamic State was making its last stand in Syria.
Soldiers from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces who had been previously taken captive by the Islamic State told Aras that 400 hostages, including journalists, were being held by the Islamic State in Baghouz, he said.
“Everything seems to suggest that Farhad is alive, but we don´t have evidence or real confirmation,” Aras told CPJ.
In a conversation on April 23, Aras told CPJ that forces inside Baghouz were trying to locate Farhad and other hostages.