Syria - Polish photojournalist kidnapped in Idlib province

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Polish photojournalist Marcin Suder, who was kidnapped by a dozen masked gunmen at around 11 a.m. yesterday in Saraqeb, in the northwestern province of Idlib.

A freelancer who works for the Corbis agency, the Polish photo-agency Studio Melon and other outlets, Suder was abducted during a raid on a media centre in Saraqeb. The precise identity of his kidnappers is still unknown. No group has claimed responsibility and no demands have been made. According to the international media, Marcin Suder may have been abducted by a group of armed Islamists.

When Menhal Barish, an activist, tried to stop Suder’s kidnappers, he was hit several times with a gun butt and had to be hospitalized. The attackers also took money, computers and cameras during the raid.

Reporters Without Borders is very worried about the fate of both foreign and local journalists covering the fighting in Syria. They keep on being targeted by the various parties to the conflict and are sometimes used as bargaining chips.

Cases of journalists going missing or being kidnapped have continued in recent months. In all, Reporters Without Borders is aware of a total of 15 cases of foreign journalists disappearing or being abducted in Syria.

Ranked 176th out of 179 countries in the press freedom index that Reporters Without Borders released in January, Syria is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for media personnel.

At least 24 journalists and 60 citizen-journalists have been killed by government or opposition forces since the start of the conflict in March 2011.