Syrian rebels release abducted Lebanese journalist
Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Lebanese journalist Fidaa Itani arrived in Turkey after being held captive by rebels in the Syrian town of Azaz since Saturday, Lebanon's Interior Minister Marwan Charbel announced Wednesday.
Itani, a former Al-Akhbar journalist who currently reports for LBC International, was abducted by a Syrian rebel group that calls itself the Northern Storm Brigades in the northern town of Azaz on Saturday.
Fidaa was an outspoken supporter of the Syrian uprising.
The rebel group issued a statement Sunday on its Facebook page promising to release Itani within a few days. Rumors surfaced the following day that he would be released within 48 hours.
"He's not being held for his nationality or his opinions, or his political leanings," the group, which calls itself the Northern Storm Brigade, said in a statement posted on Facebook.
"He's going to be asked to leave Syrian territory in a couple of days, and in any case, we wanted to reassure journalist Fidaa Itani’s family that he is in good health, and that he is being treated in a civilized manner in line with the principles of the Syrian revolution," it added.
The statement said that Itani was detained because of information the rebel group had gathered regarding Itani’s “movements” and work as a journalist in and around Aleppo that it deemed to be of security concern.
A high quality video posted on the rebels’ Facebook group showed the journalist in good health, telling the camera he was “fine.”
“I am Fidaa Itani, and I am under house arrest by Northern Storm Brigade in Azaz” he said in the video. “And I am fine,” he added.
The Northern Storm Brigades kidnapped 11 Lebanese pilgrims in Azaz this May. They were en route to Lebanon from Shia holy sites in Iran. Two of the captives have since been released.