US journalist detained in Turkey after fleeing Syria
WASHINGTON - Agence France-PresseAn American journalist has been detained in Turkey and charged with “violating a military zone” after she returned from war-torn Syria, U.S. officials said Aug. 31.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby said Lindsey Snell was detained on Aug. 6, and that U.S. consular officials were only able to visit her almost three weeks later on Aug. 26.
Snell’s Twitter biography identifies her as an Istanbul-based video journalist who has contributed to several Western networks and news organizations including MSNBC, VICE News and ABC.
On Facebook, she describes herself as hailing from Daytona Beach, Florida, and to have graduated from the University of Florida in 2005. She is a Muslim and wears a headscarf in pictures.
Her last tweets were sent on Aug. 5, when she referred to having been imprisoned for 10 days by militants from the al-Nusra Front before escaping with the aid of a “brave man on a motorcycle.”
On her Facebook page, again on Aug. 5, she said she had been able to document her time in al-Nusra’s captivity with her cellphone.
“It’s a crazy story,” she wrote. “A cave prison [the previous tenant of my cell had marked his days in residence in blood on the walls], masked villains, motorcycle escapes and disguises. I can’t wait to share the details.”
There was no reference to her having arrived in Turkey, but the country would be the obvious first destination of anyone trying to flee the Aleppo region of Syria after escaping a kidnapping.
“She was detained in Turkey. As I understand it she journeyed to Turkey from Syria,” Kirby told reporters in Washington. “She is currently being held at a prison facility in the border province of Hatay.
“What we understand is that she has been charged with violating a military zone, but I can’t speak to her reasons for being in Syria and traveling there,” he added.
Turkish forces are deployed to the border area as part of efforts to control the flow of fighters and weapons to the civil war.