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Orient News team abducted in Syria

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the abduction of an Orient News channel news crew by unknown armed men, who also stole the station's broadcast vehicle.

The incident occurred on 25 July 2013 while reporter Obiedah Batal, technician Hussam Nezameldeen and technician Aboud El-Mo'atak were covering a story near the Tel Refaat area. The assailants took them hostage, also seizing the satellite channel's vehicle and camera equipment. Armed groups had previously attacked the station's office in the city of Tel Refaat, in the countryside north of Aleppo.

ANHRI said: "Abducting the Orient News crew is a continuation of the targeting of the channel as the abduction occurred few days after the murder of Hassan Barakat, one of the paramedics for the Orient Humanitarian Foundation, when a medical unit affiliated to the foundation was exposed to live ammunition".

It is likely that elements affiliated to or supporting the Syrian regime carried out the abduction, given that Orient News is among the channels supporting the Syrian revolution demanding the ousting of President Bashar Al-Assad and its policies are aligned with those of the opposition. The channel was previously targeted on 6 June 2013 when the regime arrested engineer Abdulrahman Rayah, a specialist in TV transmission and a member of the founding team of the Orient TV channel.

ANHRI calls on the regime to reveal the fate of the news crew, immediately release them and ensure their safety.

ANHRI urges all parties in Syria to not involve journalists and media professionals in their armed conflict, and instead help to facilitate their information work and provide a suitable climate for them to report on the reality about what is going on in Syria.

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