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Veteran Spanish war correspondent Marc Marginedas kidnapped in Syria

By Al Goodman, CNN
September 24, 2013 -- Updated 0944 GMT (1744 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marc Marginedas hasn't been in touch with his newspaper since Sept. 4
  • The paper says it appears he was kidnapped by militants in western Syria
  • No group has claimed responsibility for his kidnapping, the newspaper says
  • Amnesty International has said Syria is the most dangerous place for journalists

Madrid (CNN) -- A veteran Spanish war correspondent has been kidnapped by insurgents in Syria, his newspaper reported Tuesday.

The reporter, Marc Marginedas, has been missing since Sept. 4, the last day that he contacted the newspaper, El Periodico de Catalunya, which is based in Barcelona.

The newspaper reported that it appears that Marginedas, 46, was kidnapped by jihadi combatants near the city of Hama, in western Syria.

"According to various sources, Marginedas was traveling by car with his driver when they were intercepted by jihadi combatants," the newspaper said. "Since then, it has not been possible to contact him."

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No group in Syria has claimed responsibility for his kidnapping, it said.

Marginedas has reported from conflict zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Lebanon, Darfur and Algeria. This was his third trip to Syria since the civil war began there in 2011, the newspaper said.

It is the first time in his long career as a war correspondent that he's been kidnapped, the newspaper's communications director, Montserrat Baldoma, said by phone from Barcelona.

A dangerous place

An Amnesty International report published this year named Syria as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.

The report highlighted serious abuses committed by government and opposition forces against professional and citizen journalists, both Syrian and international.

Marginedas entered Syria on Sept. 1 through Reyhanli, in southern Turkey, accompanied by fighters from the Free Syrian Army, who are trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the newspaper said.

He sent his last story to the paper on September 2 from Qasr ibn Wardan, near Hama, reporting on the disappointment among rebel fighters that a potential U.S. military strike on Syria -- in retaliation for the chemical weapons attack there on August 21 -- seemed to be growing more remote.

Baldoma said the newspaper "waited a prudent time" before announcing Marginedas' kidnapping publicly on Tuesday.

El Periodico de Catalunya has been working to secure his release, Baldoma said.

Earlier this month, a veteran Italian war correspondent was released after being held captive in Syria for several months.

READ: Two French journalists missing in Syria

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