Two Swedish journalists have been released after being abducted and held hostage in Syria for more than two months, the Associated Press reports.
- June 7, 2019
- September 29, 2017
- March 16, 2017
— Magnus Falkehed (@falkehed) September 21, 2013
Journalist Magnus Falkehed (pictured above left) and photographer Niclas Hammastrom were both detained as they attempted to leave the war-torn country at the end of November.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed that both men have been released and are currently in Beirut. However they refused to provide details on how the men secured their freedom and whether any ransom was paid.
The Associated Press reports that Swedish national police spokeswoman Jessica Krasser Fremnell said officers worked alongside other authorities to secure the release.
One of the men was able to travel to Beirut on his own while the second required the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt said on Twitter: “Great relief that the two Swedish journalists are out of Syria. But unfortunately there are still others held against their will.”
Meanwhile it has emerged that Syria is the most dangerous country in the world to work as a journalist.
Such is the level of anxiety that some journalists will not cross the border into Syria because of the threat of abduction and murder.
In September, veteran Spanish reporter Javier Espinosa and freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova were both seized by a group linked to Al Qaeda rebels
The International Federation of Journalists had been campaigning for the two men's release since their abduction.
IFJ President Jim Boumelha said: "On this day of great relief and joy we congratulate our affiliate, the Swedish Union of Journalists, and thank them for their dedication and unwavering commitment in helping to secure the safe return of their colleagues."
According to the IFJ 30 Syrian and international journalists have been kidnapped since the uprising began in March 2011.
According to the IFJ's List of Journalists and Media Killed in 2013, Syria was the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, with 15 media workers killed there last year.