Muayad Saloum, a reporter with the Syrian opposition channel Orient TV, went missing after militants from the Islamic State group abducted him on November 1, 2013, in Aleppo, the Syrian Journalist Union reported. Despite multiple reports of his execution, Orient TV has not confirmed his death.
In August 2014, news reports emerged stating that men from the Islamic State group killed the journalist at a local hospital. In an interview with Orient TV, Muayad’s brother, Yahya, who was abducted with the journalist but released fourmonths later, said he had been killed. Yahya was working as Muayad’s cameraman when they were abducted together at a checkpoint trying to enter Aleppo. In the same news report, a third brother, Mohanad, said that Muayad’s death had not been confirmed.
Mohanad al-Sayed Ali, Orient TV’s head of news reporters, told CPJ in August 2014 that reports of Muayad’s death could not be verified.
In an April 2016 email, Orient TV spokesperson Ahmed al-Deiri said the case remained a mystery. However, a former employee of the channel, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the channel, told CPJ that Saloum’s death was "widely accepted" among colleagues, but that the channel did not want to confirm it because the family maintained hope that Saloum is alive.
"More than one person close to the [Islamic State group] has told us that he was killed…People don’t want to believe it obviously, but that is what we heard," the employee said.
On June 19, 2019, Mohanad Saloum, Moayad’s brother, told CPJ via messaging app that no information had emerged concerning his brother since he went missing in November 2013.
“I met an intermediary who requested a large amount of money in exchange for news on my brother,” Mohanad Saloum told CPJ, adding that the family did not pay, and believe the offer was a scam. He told CPJ that Orient TV had stopped searching for his brother and had ceased sending financial support to his family.
Qutaiba Juha, acting editor in chief of Orient TV, told CPJ via messaging app that he had no information about Saloum and did not know whether Orient TV was still searching for him or providing financial support to his family.
Anmar al-Sayed, who worked as manager of Orient TV’s correspondents until last month, told CPJ via messaging app that, to his knowledge, the search for Saloum was still ongoing.
Al-Sayed added that he had heard unconfirmed reports that Saloum had been killed by the Islamic State in 2013.
“We have tried hard to look for Muayad and find information about his whereabouts, but we cannot find reliable information,” he told CPJ.