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News Leaders to Syrian Rebels: End Abductions

News organizations around the world have written a letter to Syrian rebels, asking for an end to journalist kidnappings. The letter states that there has been a “disturbing” increase in journalist abductions over the past year with eight instances in the past eight weeks.

Concerned organizations include The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, BBC News, Associated Press, The Economist, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Getty Images, Atlantic Media and Agence France-Presse.

Addressed to the leader of Syrian opposition forces, the letter admits journalism can be a dangerous industry due to coverage areas but argues that targeted abductions are unacceptable.

The group has decided to limit future coverage of the Syrian crisis in order to minimize the possibility of future abductions. Today, there are an estimated 30 journalists being held.

Two of the hostages, Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, have been held captive since September 16, 2013. Espinosa’s wife, Monica Prieto, recently came forward to plead for their release after a serious of failed rescue attempts.

Prieto continues to post videos depicting the pair’s work which includes the horrors of the Syrian civil war as witnessed by its women and children. She explains that her husband decided to go to the unstable region in order to shift global attention to those in need.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 Syrians are in need of aid in the town of Hasakah alone and millions more are suffering. An estimated 100,000 Syrians have died since violence erupted in the region two years ago. Children account for nearly 11,000 of the deaths.

The continual violence has prevented access to humanitarian aid to many Syrians, who are essentially trapped in cities due to close conflicts. In response, the United Nations Refugee Agency has announced plans to deliver food and other items by plane.

News organizations have maintained a heavy presence in the region but as journalists have become targeted, global news sources have announced that coverage of the violence will be limited.

– Jasmine D. Smith

Sources: NY Times, YouTube, Committee to Protect Journalists, Huffington Post
Photo: BBC