Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


American journalist missing in Syria

03 January 2013, 08:02

Beirut - An American journalist has been missing in Syria since he was kidnapped more than one month ago, his family said on Wednesday, less than two years after he was held by government forces in Libya while covering that country's civil war.

The family of James Foley, of Rochester, said he was kidnapped in northwest Syria by unknown gunmen on Thanksgiving day.

Foley, 39, has worked in a number of conflict zones around the Middle East, including Syria, Libya and Iraq. He was contributing videos to Agence France-Press while in Syria.

Foley's disappearance highlights the risks to reporters seeking to cover the civil war from inside Syria.

The Syrian government rarely gives visas to journalists and often limits the movements of those it allows in. This has prompted a number of reporters to sneak into the country with the rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad. Some have been killed or wounded while others have disappeared.

Media outlets

Foley and another journalist were working in the northern province of Idlib when they were kidnapped near the village of Taftanaz on 22 November. He had entered Syria a short time earlier.

Media outlets refrained from reporting on Foley's kidnapping until his family released its statement. The other reporter's family has requested that that reporter's name not be made public.

Foley's family said they have not heard from him since.

"We want Jim to come safely home, or at least we need to speak with him to know he's okay," said his father, John Foley, in the online statement.

"Jim is an objective journalist and we appeal for the release of Jim unharmed. To the people who have Jim, please contact us so we can work together toward his release."

The chair of Agence France-Press, Emmanuel Hoog, said in a statement that the news agency was doing all it could to get Foley released.

"James is a professional journalist who has remained totally neutral in this conflict," Hoog said. "His captors, whoever they may be, must release him immediately."

Dangerous country

In April 2011, Foley and two other reporters were detained by government forces in Libya while covering that country's civil war. They were released six weeks later. South African photographer Anton Hammerl was shot during their capture and left to die in the desert.

"I'll regret that day for the rest of my life. I'll regret what happened to Anton," Foley said at the time. "I will constantly analyse that."

The UN said Wednesday that more than 60 000 people have been killed since the start of Syria's conflict in March 2011. This number represents a large jump from death tolls previously given by anti-regime activists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said that Syria was the most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2012, when 28 reporters were killed.

Those who lost their lives include award-winning French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier, photographer Remi Ochlik and Britain's Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin. Also, Anthony Shadid, a correspondent for The New York Times, died after an apparent asthma attack while on assignment in Syria.

Last month, NBC correspondent Richard Engel and his crew were detained by pro-regime gunmen near where Foley was kidnapped. After his release, Engels said they escaped unharmed during a fire fight between their captors and anti-regime rebels.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...