Italian journalists detained in Syria

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Italian journalists detained in Syria

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Four Italian journalists have been detained since Friday in northern Syria, although the circumstances of what happened are unclear.

Two of the men and one woman are freelancers, the fourth man works for Italian television station RAI.

Authorities in Rome say the are working to ensure the safety of the journalists.

euronews spoke to Cristiano Tinazzi, a journalist who has worked in Syria and with one of the reporters detained.

“Apparently the journalists saw a special unit known as a Qatibah. Apparently the Qatibah was not entirely made up of Syrian freedom fighters. The journalists mistakenly shot pictures of this unit. That’s why they were arrested by the militiants, who wanted to double check their real identities,” Tinazzi explained.

“These militants, usually a group of militiants, form a unit and give themselves a religious name. They are militants who are not under direct control of the Syrian Liberation Army. Their inspiration is more or less the strict Salafi version of Islam and they operate within Syria,” he added.

Italian news agency ANSA says a source close to the Syrian rebels claims the detained journalists will soon be released into Turkey.

In December, an Italian and two Russians were kidnapped in Syria, before being released in February.