Parents' plea to reporter's captors in Syria

The parents of an American journalist missing in Syria since he was kidnapped more than a month ago have appealed to his captors for compassion and information about their son.

James Foley, 39, was kidnapped in north-west Syria by unknown gunmen on 22 November, his parents said. He was in the country contributing videos to Agence France-Press, which has vowed to help secure his release.

Foley's parents, John and Diane, held a news conference at their home in Rochester, New Hampshire, to make a public plea to his captors because thay have not received any information about their son in six weeks.

"We just don't know anything," Mrs Foley said. "We don't know who has him."

They have kept the Christmas lights on in the windows of their home as a vigil for their son's safe return.

Diane and John Foley.

"I appeal to the people who have Jim to let us know where he is and to help us secure his release," Mr Foley said. "We just pray that he's released."

Twenty-eight journalists were killed in Syria in 2012, prompting the Committee to Protect Journalists to name Syria the most dangerous country in the world to work in last year.

The Foleys would not discuss any detail about efforts through the US government or otherwise to secure their son's release.

Not long ago, they lived through the same anguish and fear over their son's safety.

In 2011, Foley was held by government forces in Libya while covering that country's civil war. Another journalist - South African photographer Anton Hammerl - was shot during their capture and left to die in the desert.

Foley and another journalist were released after six weeks.

"I'll regret that day for the rest of my life," he said in 2011. "I'll regret what happened to Anton."

Foley has worked in a number of conflict zones in the Middle East, including Syria, Libya and Iraq.

He and another journalist were working in the northern province of Idlib in Syria when they were kidnapped in November near the village of Taftanaz. Agence France-Press chairman Emmanuel Hoog said the agency was doing all it could to secure Foley's release.

"He's passionate about giving life to stories of people in conflict areas," Foley's father said.

Asked if Foley had any reservations about going to Syria, Mrs Foley replied softly: "Not enough."

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