- Nusra Front
- surveillance group
- Turkistan Islamic Party
- (be) comprised of ～
- chief cabinet secretary
- foreign minister
- immigration center
- (be) taken hostage
Japanese journalist kidnapped in Syria freed
Japanese journalist Yasuda Jumpei was freed after more than three years of captivity in Syria on Oct. 23.
Yasuda, 44, returned to Japan on Oct. 25.
Yasuda described his 40 months in captivity as "hell," both physically and mentally. He said he was kept in a tiny cell and tortured. There was a time when he was not allowed to bathe for eight months, he said.
Yasuda was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaida's branch in Syria, known at the time as the Nusra Front, after contact with him was lost in June that year. A surveillance group said he was most recently held by a Syrian commander with the Turkistan Islamic Party, which is mostly comprised of Uyghur jihadis in Syria.
News of Yasuda's release came late on Oct. 23 from Qatar, which helped in obtaining his freedom along with Turkey and other countries in the region, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro said on Oct. 24 that Japanese Embassy officials met with the freelance journalist at an immigration center in southern Turkey near the border with Syria.
Yasuda started reporting on the Middle East in the early 2000s. He was taken hostage in Iraq in 2004, but was freed after Islamic clerics negotiated his release. (AP)