The start of the letter quotes the Qur’an (Koran), followed by the announcement that the stay from their ultimatum expires on 13th December 2012 and if the ransom for the “Ukrainian spy” (meaning the journalist Anhar Kochneva / Kotschnewa) is not paid by that time, they will execute her. The text is signed by the FSA commanders Abu Jandal and Farid Abu Hussein.
In other news, everything is looking good for the Syrian transition to democracy, human rights and hostage-taking. And Obama is moving toward supplying the Free Syrian Army with weapons so they can take over the whole country.
The following video of Ukrainian reporter Anhar Kochneva was posted on YouTube after she was abducted near Homs.
Kochneva disappeared on October 10. On October 14, she sent a text message to her former husband. She wrote “Hope everything will be OK soon. Don’t write me”.
The family and friends of the reporter informed the Syrian embassy in Moscow and the Russian embassy in Damascus about what happened. Although Kochneva worked for the Russian TV channels and Russian media she is a Ukrainian citizen, so later Ukraine’s embassy also joined the search. We hear from Sergey Markov, the press officer of Russia’s embassy in Damascus.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities urged Damascus to work more actively to help free the journalist. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Aleksandr Dikusarov said that Kiev expects “concrete results” in attempts to release her.
In response to the Ukrainian demands, Kochneva’s kidnappers posted a video in which they threatened to target the embassies of Ukraine, Russia, as well as all Russians, Ukrainians and Iranians in Syria.
“We urge not to let a single Russian, Ukrainian or Iranian alive out of Syria,” the rebels said in the video, aired by Ukrainian news channel Ukraina.
The rebels label Kochneva a spy, claiming that she was carrying arms and worked as an interpreter for the Russian officers.
The Russian media is mostly state controlled at this point, directly or indirectly, and just as during the Cold War, it's entirely possible that Kochneva reported to the authorities, but it's highly unlikely that she was acting as an interpreter for Russian officers. Russia has had an extensive presence in Syria for some time and were setting up a port there. They didn't need some stringer to speak Arabic for them. For that matter there is a sizable number of Russian women married to Arab men living in Syria who could have filled that role if they were truly desperate.
As usual, anything that comes out of either side has to be treated with suspicion, and the pro-Syrian English speaking activists tend to be so far on the left that they make Noam Chomsky look like Oliver North, but there is a supposed ransom demand that has been made available. And it appears to match the one on the Facebook page of a Syrian rebel group planning to take Tartus, which hosts a Russian naval base.
The start of the letter quotes the Qur’an (Koran), followed by the announcement that the stay from their ultimatum expires on 13th December 2012 and if the ransom for the “Ukrainian spy” (meaning the journalist Anhar Kochneva / Kotschnewa) is not paid by that time, they will execute her.
The text is signed by the FSA commanders Abu Jandal and Farid Abu Hussein.
The relatives of Anhar Kochneva stated a few days ago that the ransom demand amounted to 50 million U.S. dollars; to date this demand by the FSA has not been changed.
Whatever may be said of Anhar Kochneva, it is telling that the same media apparatus that sprang to life condemning Israel for killing Hamas terrorists who were pretending to be reporters has nothing to say about this.
The New York Times' David Carr who attacked Israel over the Hamas deaths has nothing to say about this. Meanwhile Facebook, which deleted my account once, has not done anything to the account of a terrorist group using Facebook to issue murder threats and ransom demands. Neither has Google's YouTube interfered with the terrorists' YouTube channel.
The terrorists' group Facebook page features an album that includes the photo of the leader of the Syrian opposition, Muslim Brotherhood cleric, Sheikj Mouaz Al-Khatib.