February 5, 2013

NH family of missing journalist posts ads in Syria

Kathy McCormack / The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — It has been 75 days since a U.S. journalist was reported missing in Syria, and his family has stepped up their campaign to find him, using social media to advertise his name and photo in that country.

click image to enlarge

James Foley, photographed in Aleppo, Syria, in July 2012. Photo by Nicole Tung.

James Foley was last seen on Nov. 22 in northwest Syria, where he was contributing videos to Agence France-Press. His family in Rochester, N.H., says he was kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

The advertisement on Facebook, Twitter and other sites shows a photo of the 39-year-old Foley. It says he is a reporter last seen in Syria, says his family is looking for information on his whereabouts and points to a website about him, freejamesfoley.org

Foley's parents made a public plea to his captors last month for compassion and any information about their son's health and welfare, but have received no new information.

"We haven't heard anything," Foley's brother, Michael Foley, said Tuesday from work in Londonderry. "There are several leads we're pursuing, but we have had no contact at this point."

He said the family wants to make sure it's using all available avenues to try to obtain information about his brother. The ad targets social media users in and around Syria.

"At least I feel we can publicize our appeal directly to the Syrians, or to others that may have information about Jim, and that's why we felt it was important to do it," he said.

The family said James Foley was last seen near Taftanaz, in the Idib region of Syria near Turkey.

This is not the first time the Foleys have tried to find their son. In 2011, Foley was held by government forces in Libya while covering that country's civil war. Another journalist — South African photographer Anton Hammerl — was shot during their capture and left to die in the desert. Foley and another journalist were released after six weeks.

Michael Foley said people have been very supportive. "That's been very helpful to my parents, in particular, to get through this tough time," he said.

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