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MIDEAST >Turkish journalist kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria

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Daily Milliyet’s photo journalist Bünyamin Aygün has been kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria. DAILY NEWS photo

Daily Milliyet’s photo journalist Bünyamin Aygün has been kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria. DAILY NEWS photo

A Turkish journalist has been kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, according to a journalists' association.

A statement from the Turkish Photo Journalists Association said daily Milliyet’s photo journalist Bünyamin Aygün was kidnapped some time ago and efforts to secure his release had yet to yield results. The statement also asked for help from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

“Bünyamin Aygün is not an enemy, please release him,” the statement said.

Twenty-five journalists have been killed since the start of the conflict in March 2011, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), while more than 30 journalists are estimated to have been abducted or detained.
 
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is believed to be holding several foreign journalists, as well as scores of Syrian activists.

The kidnapping came as the leaders of Syria’s main Western-backed moderate rebel faction said they would do everything in their power to protect journalists on assignment in the country and work to secure the release of those already abducted.

The letter from the Supreme Military Council, the military wing of the Syrian National Coalition, came in response to an appeal from several major international news organizations, calling for urgent action against rebel groups targeting journalists for kidnappings. Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists and the number of abductions has soared to an unprecedented level over the past year.

The vast majority of the kidnappings over the past six months have occurred in opposition-held parts of northern and eastern Syria, where al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups are particularly strong.

December/17/2013

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