American journalist remains missing in Syria, friends "extremely concerned"
(CBS News)The International press Institute reports that 132 journalists were killed around the world in 2012, the highest number since the IPI started recording journalists' deaths in 1997 and one that underscores the increasingly insecure international landscape faced by journalists covering conflicts.
Covering the mounting violence in Syria in recent months has been particularly dangerous for Western journalists. Over two months have passed since armed gunmen abducted American journalist James Foley in northern Syria. He was on his way out of the country, trying to reach the Turkish border. Foley was reporting for several news outlets, including the AFP and GlobalPost, and today there is still no news about his exact whereabouts or the group responsible for his kidnapping.
CBS News' Clarissa Ward is friends with James Foley and has covered the conflict in Syria extensively. Ward said Friday on "CBS This Morning" that she is "extremely concerned" about Foley and added that "nothing has been heard from him ... we don't know who has him. We don't know what the motivations were for kidnapping."
- James Foley's website
- Richard Engel, NBC correspondent, free after 5 days of captivity in Syria
- Parents of missing U.S. reporter appeal for info in Beirut
Ward explained that unlike reporting from Iraq or Afghanistan -- "where you were traveling with a conventional army, where you had access to medical care" -- the lack of security and clarity on the ground in Syria creates a level of risk for journalists that is "impossible to mitigate," despite extensive advance preparation.
Foley could be held by any numbers of groups, according to Ward. "In that part of Syria, there's no way of narrowing it down," she said. His captors could be "rogue or criminal elements from within the free Syrian army and rebel fighters, could be extremist elements...[or] pockets of regime presence...[or] pro-regime militias."
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