Washington (AFP) – The family of U.S. journalist James Foley, who on Friday will mark the first anniversary of his disappearance in war-torn Syria, say they have not given up hope of welcoming him home.
The freelancer, a five-year veteran of combat reporting for outlets including GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, is one of an estimated 30 journalists missing in Syria’s 32-month-old civil war.
Press watchdogs have expressed increasing concern for the reporters, especially as in many cases there has been no news of their fate and no ransom demands.
Foley’s parents John and Diane told AFP they are still hopeful that he is alive, but expressed regret that after a whole year, during which their son turned 40, they have no news.
“We haven’t been contacted by anybody asking for anything. No ransom requests,” John Foley said, as the couple called for well-wishers to join them in a day of prayer.
Foley was seized by armed men in the northern Syrian province of Idlib on November 22 last year, according to witnesses. Security experts working for GlobalPost are working to find him.
Initial indications suggested he may have been snatched by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but investigators are no longer confident of that.
Both the Syrian government and anti-regime rebels, including Islamist extremists, have held reporters in the past.