Two Reuters journalists missing in Syria

March 28th, 2011 - 4:24 am ICT by BNO News  

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) — Two Reuters television journalists have been missing in Syria since Saturday night, the British news agency reported Sunday.

Beirut-based producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji, both Lebanese nationals, were expected to cross into Lebanon by road on Saturday afternoon. The last known contact was when Baltaji sent a phone message to a colleague in Beirut, saying they were leaving.

“Reuters is deeply concerned about our two Reuters television colleagues who went missing in Syria on Saturday. We have reached out to the relevant authorities in Syria and have asked for their help in securing our colleagues’ safe return home,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said.

A Syrian official told Reuters on Sunday that authorities were working on resolving the issue.

On Friday, Syrian authorities expelled Reuters text correspondent Khaled Yacoub Oweis, saying he had filed “unprofessional and false” coverage of the country’s events. The news agency stood by its coverage from Syria.

Syrian security forces have reportedly killed at least 44 people during the past week’s unrest, although some reports say as many as 100 have been killed.

Protesters are demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, who took over the post from his father Hafez al-Assad in 2000, and greater freedoms. The country has been ruled by the Baath Party since 1963.

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