Two London Times journalists released after being kidnapped in Syria
LONDON: Two London Times journalists covering the Syrian civil war were kidnapped by a "rebel gang" and one of them was shot before members of an anti-extremist rebel group intervened and secured their release, the Times reported on Thursday.
Reporter Anthony Loyd was shot twice in the leg while being held captive and photographer Jack Hill suffered a severe beating after trying to escape, it said.
The two, who had spent several days covering the restive city of Aleppo for the Times, were released on Wednesday after local commanders of the group Islamic Front intervened. They later crossed into Turkey, the paper said.
Loyd and Hill were kidnapped earlier in the day along with a local guide while heading from the northern Syrian town of Tall Rifat to Turkey after a "rebel gang" intercepted the vehicle in which they were travelling, the newspaper reported.
They were driven back to Tall Rifat, where they were held in a warehouse, guarded by the men who had been leading them to the border.
Hill and the guide made an attempt to escape after overpowering one of the guards. The guide managed to escape on a stolen moped, but Hill was recaptured and was severely beaten along with Loyd, the paper said.
Loyd, who earlier this year won the Foreign Reporter of the Year award from the Society of Editors for exposing the use of chemical warfare in Syria, was shot in the legs to prevent him from escaping, the Times said.
After their rescue by the Islamic Front, which was formed in December to counter al Qaeda-linked rebel groups, they received medical treatment locally before crossing into Turkey, it said.
Sixty-three journalists have been confirmed killed while working in Syria since 1992, according to figures available on the website of the nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. – Reuters