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January 1, 2014 marks 500 days since Alhurra Television’s Bashar Fahmi disappeared in Aleppo, Syria. The Alhurra correspondent was reporting from the northern Syria city, when a firefight broke out. There has been no word from Fahmi since his disappearance approximately 16 months ago.
“It is hard to believe that it has been 500 days since Bashar disappeared. The uncertainty has been extremely difficult for Bashar’s family and his colleagues here at Alhurra. If anyone has any information on Bashar we urge them to come forward,” stated Brian Conniff, President of Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). MBN manages and operates Alhurra Television. “Unfortunately Bashar is not the only reporter missing. The rising number of journalists that have disappeared while reporting from Syria is a disturbing phenomenon.”
Fahmi had traveled to Aleppo with his cameraman and two journalists from Japan Press on Aug. 20, 2012, when shots were fired and the journalists ran for cover. Japan Press’ Mika Yamamoto was killed and Fahmi’s cameraman Cunyet Unal was captured and then subsequently released 90 days later. There has been no word from Fahmi since that day.
The Committee to Protect Journalists states that approximately 30 journalists are currently missing in Syria, including Americans Austin Tice and James Foley.