Abducted German woman escapes from Syria to Turkey with baby

The pregnant 'freelance journalist', who was kidnapped in Syria in October 2015, gave birth to a boy while in captivity.

Photo by: Shutterstock
Photo by: Shutterstock

German news magazine, Focus, citing federal police sources says victim was lured to Syria by a woman she knew from Bonn with the promise of exclusive information about DAESH.

A German woman who was kidnapped in war-ravaged Syria in 2015 and gave birth while in captivity escaped with her baby to Turkey on Wednesday, the German foreign ministry said.

"The German woman and her baby who was born while she was held hostage are in good condition considering the circumstances," the ministry said in a statement.

Without identifying the two, the ministry said the mother and child were now under the care of German consular officials and members of the German federal police in Turkey.

The woman was a freelance journalist who had worked for Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily and broadcaster NDR, said the German mass circulation newspaper Bild.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Germany, a non-profit group, welcomed the news.

"This case shows again the incalculable dangers to which journalists are continually exposed in the Syrian war," said Christian Mihr, the group's director.

Mihr termed it important that most German media outlets purposely avoided writing about and sensationalising the case.

"The German government is relieved about the outcome of this case given the extremely difficult overall situation in Syria," the ministry said.

A ministry spokeswoman provided no further details, citing privacy considerations. The German federal police was not immediately available to comment.

Germany-based Focus news magazine, in its report published in February, named the woman as 27-year-old Janina Findeisen, who published under the pseudonym Marie Delhaes.

The report said she was kidnapped in October 2015 and gave birth to her son in December.

It said the woman had been held by a faction within the Nusra Front militant group, recently renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which was demanding a ransom of 5 million euros for her release.

JFS on Wednesday tweeted a denial that it was behind the kidnapping, and said it had in fact freed the woman and her child from the prison where they were being held by a "small group" that was not named, the SITE Intelligence Group reported.

Focus magazine, citing federal police sources, said Findeisen had been lured to Syria by a woman she knew from Bonn with the promise of exclusive information about DAESH.

The German embassy in Ankara was preparing the woman's return to Germany and thanked the Turkish government and other international partners for help they provided on the case.