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Two freelance Iraqi Kurdish journalists kidnapped in Syria

This statement was first published on cpj.org on 17 December 2014.

Two freelance journalists working for the Kurdish media network Rudaw TV were abducted in Syria on Monday, according to a statement released today by the outlet and reports from regional press freedom groups.

Farhad Hamo, a reporter, and Massoud Aqeel, a photographer, were abducted by members of the militant group Islamic State on a main highway near the city of Qamishlo, the station said in its statement. It is not clear how the station knew the Islamic State group was responsible for the kidnapping. The militant group has not publicly taken responsibility for the kidnapping.

The network said the journalists were on assignment at the time of their abduction, but did not offer further details.

The kidnapping comes amid fighting between Kurdish security forces and Islamic State militants on multiple battlefronts throughout Syria and Iraq as part of the kaleidoscope of conflict that has engulfed the countries.

"We ask all who can to help secure the immediate and safe release of Farhad Hamo and Massoud Aqeel," said CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour.

More than 90 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011, according to CPJ research. Approximately 20 journalists are still missing, the majority of whom are believed held by Islamic State militants who have waged a campaign of journalist kidnappings and murders wherever they operate.

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