On February 26, 2023, an armed group, which we believed is affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), abducted the journalist Kuran Azm, the co-founder of the Syrian Kurdish Journalists Network, in his home city of al-Qameshli in the northeastern suburbs of Hasaka governorate. The group also abducted Azm’s friend Ahmad Abdul Razzaq Mulla, another civilian, who was with him when the abduction took place.
The abduction was carried out at Ahmad’s store, located in the main market in al-Qameshli city, at the hands of masked men wearing military uniforms. Kuran and Ahmad were both taken to an undisclosed location. The area is under the control of the SDF.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) condemns the abduction of Kuran Azm and the civilian Ahmad Mulla, as well as all other violations against media workers which aim solely to silence dissenting voices and stop the truthful reporting of developments on the ground. We cannot stress deeply enough how essential it is that journalists be allowed to work freely, given their vital role in disseminating information and dispelling disinformation, and thus how essential it is to end the current policy of threats and crackdowns on media freedom in SDF-controlled areas as everywhere else. We are also concerned that the two abducted individuals may be subjected to torture and may go on to be forcibly disappeared.
The SDF must uphold its responsibilities for providing security and protection in the areas it controls. The group, which is also responsible for apprehending the individuals behind this abduction and holding them accountable, should launch an investigation into this incident and make the findings of this investigation known to the public as soon as possible. We also call for the compensation of victims materially and morally and for putting an end to all arbitrary detentions, abduction, and torture, which aim solely to cause fear among the public and extort people.