British journalists shot and beaten in Syria kidnapping
A reporter and a photographer for The Times were recovering in Turkey on Thursday after being kidnapped, shot and beaten while covering the Syrian conflict, the British newspaper said.world Updated: May 15, 2014 16:40 IST
A reporter and a photographer for The Times were recovering in Turkey on Thursday after being kidnapped, shot and beaten while covering the Syrian conflict, the British newspaper said.
Writer Anthony Loyd and photographer Jack Hill, who have both won awards for their coverage of conflicts including Syria, were seized with their guide as they were returning to Turkey after several days in Aleppo, which has been severely damaged by three years of fighting.
Loyd was shot twice in the leg while being held captive and both men suffered severe beatings after Hill and the guide tried to escape, the newspaper said.
It reported that they were eventually freed under the orders of a local rebel commander, and managed to cross the border into Turkey on Wednesday after receiving treatment in a Syrian hospital.
Loyd and Hill had spent several days in Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria and the site of some of the fiercest fighting between rebels and government forces.
They were around ten miles (16 kilometres) from the border with Turkey when their vehicle was forced to the side of the road by two cars, according to a front-page report in The Times.
Loyd was hooded and tied up and put in the back seat of a car, while Hill and the guide were put in the boot before being driven to a warehouse in the town of Tall Rifat.
Hill and the guide managed to break out and overpower their main captor. The guide escaped but Hill was recaptured and beaten, and Loyd was shot to stop him trying to leave, the newspaper said.
The story, which did not contain any direct quotes from the reporters, said that Hill identified their kidnappers as the men entrusted with their safe passage to the border.
A commander from the Islamic Front, a coalition of rebel groups, turned up to the warehouse and demanded the hostages be released, the newspaper said.
They were later reunited with their guide and all three men crossed into Turkey on Wednesday evening, it said.
Reporters Without Borders says Syria is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, with more than 150 killed since the conflict began in March 2011.
Earlier this month, the NGO said nine foreign journalists and more than 20 Syrian news providers were being held hostage or missing in Syria.
It said an additional 40 Syrian journalists or bloggers were being held by the government.