A German woman who was kidnapped in war-torn Syria last year and gave birth while in captivity escaped with her baby to Turkey on Wednesday, the German foreign ministry said.
“The German woman and her baby who was born while she was held hostage are in good condition considering the circumstances,” the ministry said in a statement. It said the two were now under the care of German consular officials and members of the German federal police in Turkey.
The German mass circulation newspaper Bild said the woman was a freelance journalist who had worked for Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily and broadcaster NDR.
Reporters without Borders Germany, a non-profit group, welcomed the news.
“This case shows again the incalculable dangers to which journalists are continually exposed in the Syrian war,” said Christian Mihr, the group’s director. He said it was important that most German media outlets had refrained from writing about and sensationalising the case.
“The German government is relieved about the outcome of this case given the extremely difficult overall situation in Syria,” the ministry said.
A ministry spokeswoman said she could give no further details about the case, citing privacy considerations. The German federal police was not immediately available to comment.
Focus newsmagazine reported on the case in February, naming the woman as 27-year-old Janina Findeisen, who published under the pseudonym Marie Delhaes. It said she was kidnapped in October 2015 and gave birth to her son in December.
It said the woman had been held by a faction within the Islamist Nusra Front militant group, recently renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which was demanding a ransom of 5 million euros for her release.
JFS on Wednesday tweeted a denial that it was behind the kidnapping, and said it had in fact freed the woman and her child from the prison where they were being held by a “small group” that was not named, the SITE Inteligence Group reported.
Focus, citing federal police sources, reported in February that Findeisen had been lured to Syria by a woman she knew from Bonn with the promise of exclusive information about Islamist militants.
The German embassy in Ankara was preparing the woman’s return to Germany and thanked the Turkish government and other international partners for help they provided on the case.