Abu Yehia, a camera operator for the pro-government
television station Al-Ikhbariya, was killed
in disputed circumstances, according to news reports.
Rebels belonging to the Free Syrian Army kidnapped Abu Yehia
and three colleagues–Yara al-Saleh, an anchor for the station; Abdullah Tubara, a
camera operator; and driver Hussam Imad–in the Damascus suburb of Al-Tal on
August 10, according to news reports.
On August 12, the Free Syrian Army released a video
featuring a rebel spokesperson saying that Abu Yehia and two rebel fighters had
been killed by government shelling of Al-Tal on the day of the kidnapping, news
reports said. The other Al-Ikhbariya crew members appeared in the video saying
they were being treated well.
The Al-Ikhbariya team was freed
in a Syrian army operation on August 16, according to the SANA state news
agency. SANA disputed the Free Syrian Army’s account of Abu Yehia’s death. The
agency quoted al-Saleh as saying that Abu Yehia was executed by the rebels and
that the kidnapped journalists were mistreated. Al-Saleh added that she and her
colleagues had been forced by the rebels to make false statements on the video.
Upon the journalists’ return, in an interview
with Al-Ikhbariya, al-Saleh said that she and her colleagues did not see Abu
Yehia’s body and they did not know what happened except that they heard