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13 Oct, 2012 14:00

Missing journalist in Syria possibly kidnapped

A 40-year-old Ukrainian journalist collaborating with several Russian news outlets went missing in Syria. Colleagues and relatives believe she may have been kidnapped.

Well-known Russian blogger and the ex-deputy of the Russian State Duma Daria Mitina reported that journalist Anhar Kochneva may have been kidnapped 20 kilometers from the city of Homs, near the town of Al-Qusayr by the Syria-Lebanon border. That area has witnessed violent clashes between the Syrian government and the opposition forces recentlyOn Monday, Kocheva traveled to Tartus with a colleague, journalist Elena Gromova, where the two gave speeches to the city's residents, Mitina told RT. Kocheva was supposed to return to Damascus after the trip, but changed her mind and went to Homs instead to prepare a report for the NTV television station.“The latest information we have is that yesterday [on Friday] around noon Anhar tried to establish connection with our TV crew in Damascus,” Mitina said. “She called their hotel, but connection broke and she never called back.”The Russian embassy in Damascus is currently investigating the situation. Sources in Lebanon’s security forces told RIA-Novosti that their “contacts in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) operating near the Syrian town of Al-Qusayr don’t have any information on the matter.”The Ukrainian embassy told RT that they had no information concerning the missing journalist.Anhar Kochneva is a Ukrainian citizen, and lives in Moscow. Since the ongoing conflict in Syria began in 2011, she has collaborated with several Russian news outlets, including RT. She was an outspoken supporter of Bashar al-Assad’s government, and frequently criticized opposition forces, which may have been the reason for her possible kidnapping, Kochneva's employer, the Utro news outlet claimed.