A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria while pregnant and gave birth in captivity has escaped with her baby boy.
Freelance journalist Janina Findeisen, who worked for Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily and broadcaster NDR and was kidnapped in October 2015, and reportedly gave birth in December has managed to escape from her Syrian captors. According to the German Foreign Ministry mother and son are “in good condition, considering”.
Ms Findeisen was believed to have been captured by a faction within the Islamist Nusra Front militant group, recently renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which was reportedly demanding a €5m ransom (£4.3m; $5.6m) for her release.The group was linked to al-Qaeda before splitting from it in July.
However JFS denied holding her hostage; instead it said that it had in fact freed the woman and her child from the prison where they were being held by a “small group”, which it did not name. The 27-year-old journalist and her baby are now in Turkey under the care of German consular officials and members of the German federal police.
Reporters without Borders Germany, a non-profit group working for press freedom, said Ms Findeisen’s situation “shows again the incalculable dangers to which journalists are continually exposed in the Syrian war”.It also praised the media for their considered response to the kidnapping, saying the lack of sensationalism may have stopped the abduction becoming an execution.
German news magazine Focus reported in February that she had been lured to Syria by a woman from Bonn, who promised her exclusive information about Islamist militants. Currently the German embassy in Ankara is organizing Ms Findeisen’s return home, and has thanked the Turkish government and other international partners for their help.