Turkish intelligence saves German journalist kidnapped in Syria
by Erkam Çoban
ISTANBULOct 07, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Erkam Çoban
Oct 07, 2016 12:00 am
Security sources have revealed that members of Turkish intelligence services freed a German journalist who was kidnapped in Syria last year. Janina Findeisen was brought to Turkey last week but it was not clear how she was freed.
Findeisen, 27, was pregnant when she was kidnapped and gave birth to a baby boy named Demien while in captivity. She was reportedly kidnapped by al-Nusra Front or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS). The Syrian group denied involvement.
Sources say Findeisen came to Turkey with three friends and her husband in 2015 and was planning to cover the civil war in Syria when she snuck into the war-torn country through the Turkish border province of Hatay in September 2015 along with a German female friend accompanying her promising safe entry into Syria. Questioned after her release, she said she was held by Syrian gangsters who blindfolded her during her relocation to nine different places throughout her captivity. She said her kidnappers asked for a 5 million euros ransom from the German government but Germany refused to pay it.
Turkish intelligence units tracked down the latest site where Findeisen was held and raided the place to free her, security sources said. Findeisen and her son flew to Germany after a brief stay at the German embassy in Ankara.
Turkey's southern border with Syria, where rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) gained a foothold, is among the few secure spots to leave or enter Syria for humanitarian aid missions while strict security measures are in place to prevent infiltration from Daish and other terrorist groups.
Syria, where the Assad regime brutally cracked down on dissidents, paving the way for civil war, is the "world's deadliest country for journalists" according to Reporters Without Borders, placing it at the bottom of a press freedom index. Though not as common as their local counterparts facing intimidation, arrests, abductions and murders, foreign journalists also face challenges in the conflict-ridden country where terrorist groups such as Daish and the People's Protection Units (YPG) are active, aggravating an already lethal situation where the regime forces constantly and indiscriminately pound rebel-held areas with airstrikes.