Two Rudaw journalists held by Islamic State militants in Syria
Two freelance journalists have been captured by the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, according to Kurdish news reports on Wednesday.
Farhad Hamo and Massoud Aqeel – who work for the Kurdish news outlet Rudaw – were detained by militants near the Syrian-Kurdish town of Qamishli in north-east Syria. They were in the Rojava region on assignment for Rudaw when they were taken by IS.
The Rudaw Media Network said they demand “the release of both journalists and urges local tribes to play their role in securing their freedom.”
The Kurdish media outlet said Hamo and Aqeel are “two professional journalists who have worked for the [Rudaw] network in a professional and unbiased manner.”
No details have been released as to why these two men are being held by the IS group, who control large areas of both Syria and Iraq.
Media monitoring groups called for the two journalists to be immediately released.
“Reporters Without Borders (RWB) demands their immediate release and calls on all belligerents to respect the protection that international law accords to journalists operating in war zones,” RWB said in a statement.
RWB released a report this week rounding up the global treatment of journalists in 2014. Syria was the “world’s deadliest country for media personnel”, according to the group, who said 27 journalists were kidnapped in the country over the past year.
The IS group have been globally condemned for the brutal treatment of prisoners captured in areas under their control, including the videoed executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
Local journalists have also borne the brunt of the IS group’s violence but received scant international media coverage.
In October two Iraqi journalists were executed by the group. Mohanad al-Akidi was shot dead by militants near the Iraqi city of Mosul and Raad Mohamed al-Azzawi was beheaded in Samarra after refusing to work with IS.
A US-led coalition, supported by regional powers, are carrying out a bombing campaign against the IS group in Syria and Iraq. However, it is unclear how much impact the air strikes have had on reducing the capacity of IS to retain areas currently under their control.