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Another Catalan journalist is kidnapped in Syria

Freelance photojournalist Ricard Garcia has been kidnapped in the Syrian province of Raqqa together with El Mundo reporter Javier Espinosa by a group related to Al-Qaeda. On the 4th September, the Catalan Marc Marginedas, reporter from El Periódico, was also kidnapped in Syria. Barcelona-born Garcia and Málaga-born Espinosa have been missing since the 16th September near the Tal Abyad checkpoint. However, the news had not been announced until this Tuesday, when El Mundo published the information. They were kidnapped near the Turkish border together with 4 soldiers of Ahfad al Moustapha, one of the brigades of the Free Syrian Army, who were supposed to protect them. The 4 soldiers were released 12 days after they were taken away, but not the 2 journalists. Marginedas also remains in captivity.

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10 December 2013 03:11 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Freelance photojournalist Ricard Garcia has been kidnapped in the Syrian province of Raqqa together with El Mundo reporter Javier Espinosa by a group related to Al-Qaeda. On the 4th September, the Catalan Marc Marginedas, a reporter from El Periódico, was also kidnapped in Syria. Barcelona-born Garcia and Málaga-born Espinosa have been missing since the 16th September near the Tal Abyad checkpoint. However, the news had not been announced until this Tuesday, when El Mundo published the information. They were kidnapped near the Turkish border together with 4 soldiers of Ahfad al Moustapha, one of the brigades of the Free Syrian Army. In theory, these four combatants were protecting the two journalists. The 4 soldiers were released 12 days after they were taken away, but not the 2 journalists. Marginedas also remains in captivity. The Spanish Government has emphasised the need for great discretion in both cases.


El Mundo confirmed the kidnapping of Catalan Ricard Garcia and Andalusian Javier Espinosa in its Tuesday morning printed edition. The Madrid-based newspaper explained that the two men were kidnapped almost 3 months ago, on the 16th September, by the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)’,a group close to Al-Qaeda. This insurgent group organized manifold terrorist attacks in Iraq and is now deeply-rooted in Northern Syria. It is fighting against both Al-Assad’s regime and the Free Syrian Army.

Garcia and Espinosa were kidnapped when they were trying to quit the country after having been working there for 2 weeks. The track of the two journalists was lost at Tal Abyad checkpoint, in the Raqqa Province, near the border with Turkey. Four members of the Free Syrian Army were also kidnapped, but released on the 28th September, after having been held for 12 days. Unfortunately the two Spanish journalists were not released. Since that day, according to El Mundo, indirect contacts with the kidnappers have not revealed “what are they asking or what they want to obtain” in exchange for releasing the photojournalist and the reporter.

Javier Espinosa, born in Málaga in 1964, is a press correspondent in Beirut (Lebanon) working for El Mundo. He is a veteran war reporter who has worked in many different armed conflicts in the Middle East, from Afghanistan to Egypt. Ricard Garcia, born in Barcelona in 1972, is a freelance photojournalist who specialises in armed conflicts. He has worked for some of the most prestigious international media. For a while, Garcia was living in Syria, in a flat in Aleppo. He was living with a group of doctors that was attacked by ISIS members – the organisation that now has kidnapped them. Back then, Garcia was interrogated by the group related to Al-Qaeda and released when they had checked that he was not a spy but an independent reporter. 

Marc Marginedas has been held captive since 4th September

Meanwhile, another Catalan journalist is also held captive in the Arab country. The last time Marc Marginedas reported back to El Periódico’s newsroom was on the 4th September. The news about his kidnapping was released on the 23rd September. He was travelling by car near Hama, in Western Syria. Marginedas arrived in the country on the 1st September through the Turkish border to cover a possible international operation – led by the United States – against Al-Assad’s regime after the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population.

Marginedas, aged 46, is a veteran war correspondent. He had been in Syria on two other occasions before his last trip to the country: in February 2012 and April 2013. Marginedas started to work as a correspondent in armed conflicts in Algeria, in 1995, working for El Periódico covering the civil war between Islamists and the regime. Afterwards he was the newspaper’s correspondent in Moscow until 2002 and he covered the Second Chechnya War (1998-2000), with numerous trips to the Caucasus republic. In 2002 he came back to Barcelona and since then he has worked for Grupo Zeta (the editor of El Periódico) in many conflict zones such as Iraq, Darfur and Libya.

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  • Javier Espinosa (left) and Ricard Garcia (right) have been kidnapped in Syria (by El Mundo / ACN)

  • Javier Espinosa (left) and Ricard Garcia (right) have been kidnapped in Syria (by El Mundo / ACN)