Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017, 11:55 GMT

Islamic State frees photographer in prisoner swap with Kurds

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 25 September 2015
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Islamic State frees photographer in prisoner swap with Kurds, 25 September 2015, available at: [accessed 13 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Islamic State has released Massoud Aqeel, a photographer kidnapped nine months ago in the mainly Kurdish northeastern region of Syria known as Rojava together with reporter Farhad Hamo, who is still being held hostage.

Aqeel was freed on 21 September as part of an exchange of prisoners between Islamic State and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Reporters Without Borders urges the Kurdish authorities to do everything possible to obtain Hamo's release.

Aqeel and Hamo were in Rojava on assignment for Rudaw, a TV station based in Iraqi Kurdistan, when Islamic State fighters kidnapped them on the road between Qameshli and Til Kocher on 15 December.

Ranked 177th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Syria is the world's most dangerous countries for media personnel, with at least 47 journalists and 139 netizens (online information providers) killed since the start of the conflict in March 2011. At least 30 journalists and netizens continue to be held by the Syrian government while at least 29 other journalists (including six foreigners) are either missing or being held hostage by Islamic State or other armed extremist groups.

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