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Reuters concerned for photographer held in Syria

Reuters is concerned for the safety of photographer Khaled al-Hariri, who has been detained by Syrian authorities for five days.

Hariri, 50, has a condition which needs daily medication. A Syrian national, he was last seen when his wife dropped him off by car near the Reuters bureau in Damascus on Monday morning.

A witness has told Hariri’s family that he was stopped by two men outside the office and taken away. A Syrian official told the family that he would be released by the authorities if there was “no evidence against him”. He gave no details.

“We are deeply concerned about our colleague Khaled al-Hariri, who has been missing in Syria for five days now,” editor-in-chief Stephen Adler said on Saturday. “We continue to ask the Syrian authorities for their urgent assistance to help get Khaled home safely.”

Hariri is one of four Reuters journalists to have been detained in the past week in Syria. The three others, all foreigners, have been released and expelled. A fifth Reuters journalist, Jordanian Khaled Yacoub Oweis, was not detained but was expelled on 25 March after five years as the news agency's correspondent in the Syrian capital.

Two Lebanese television journalists, producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji, were detained in Damascus last Saturday. They were held incommunicado for two days before being deported to Lebanon. On Tuesday, Amman correspondent Suleiman al-Khalidi, a Jordanian, was arrested in Damascus, held for three days and then expelled on Friday. ■