Suspected rebels kidnap four Syrian activists: NGO

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Four prominent Syrian activists, including one whose work was recognized by the European parliament, were kidnapped Tuesday in a rebel-held area near Damascus by suspected rebels, an activist network said.

"On the morning of December 10, a group of unknown people broke into the headquarters of a group documenting abuses in Syria in the Douma area in besieged Eastern Ghouta," the Local Coordination Committees said in a statement.

Fares Mohammed, an activist with the LCC, told AFP that an armed opposition group in the region was believed to be behind the kidnapping.

Multiple rebel groups, including the jihadist Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, are operating in the Douma area.

"The activists Razan Zeitouneh, Wael Hamada, Samira Khalil and Nazem al-Hamadi were all detained," the statement added.

Zeitouneh is a well-known Syrian activist who was among the 2011 winners of the European parliament's human rights prize. Hamada is her husband.

The kidnapping took place in Damascus province, not far from the capital, in a rebel-held area besieged by government forces.

"We're working to gather information, but we don't have any leads yet," Mohammed said.

The LCC strongly condemned the kidnapping and those behind it, saying it held them "directly responsible for any harm" to the activists.

It called for the captors to immediately return the activists safely and unconditionally.

Zeitouneh is one of the Syrian uprising's most prominent early proponents, and has criticized abuses by all parties to the conflict.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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