Hatem Abu Yehia

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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 gunshots.

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