Japanese journalist reportedly held in Syria

Tokyo, Dec 24 (IANS) A Japanese freelance journalist is reportedly being held by an armed group in Syria, a media report said on Thursday.

Jumpei Yasuda entered Syria from Turkey in June to cover the country’s civil war. He was accompanied by a guide, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Yasuda was supposed to return in July but his whereabouts remain unknown.

Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based NGO, said on its website on Tuesday that Yasuda had been kidnapped by an armed group in an area controlled by the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front.

The NGO said those holding Yasuda are demanding a ransom for his release, and called on Japan’s government to do everything possible to free him.

Yasuda was a newspaper reporter before turning freelance. He has worked in conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq.

In 2004, he was held for four days in Iraq by local militia.

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