STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two Swedish journalists were abducted in Syria as they were trying to leave the country, Sweden's Foreign Ministry said Monday.
The men were "taken" on Saturday as they were on their way out of Syria, spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson said. She declined to give other details, and said Swedish diplomats in Beirut were trying to get more information on the situation.
The ministry didn't name them, but Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter said they were the newspaper's stringer in Paris, Magnus Falkehed, and a freelance photographer, Niclas Hammarstrom. Press advocacy groups say Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for reporters over the past two years, with kidnappings becoming a major threat.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 30 journalists are being held and 52 have been killed since Syria's civil war began in early 2011. The group also has documented at least 24 other journalists who disappeared earlier this year but are now safe.
The missing are a combination of foreign and Syrian journalists, some of whose names have not been publicly disclosed due to security concerns. Jihadi groups are believed responsible for most kidnappings since the summer, but government-backed militias, criminal gangs and rebels affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army also have been involved with various motives. Most kidnappings since the summer have taken place in rebel-held territories, particularly in chaotic northern and eastern Syria, where militant al-Qaida-linked groups hold influence.