MINSK, August 14 (RIA Novosti) – Officials are looking into video footage apparently showing a Belarusian woman among hostages captured on Syrian territory, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
The video, released online last week, shows two women, claiming to be citizens of Belarus and Moldova, surrounded by gunmen wearing black masks – allegedly Syrian rebels.
“We are concerned over this material, and are carefully studying the circumstances of its release,” Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said on Wednesday.
The women, who said in the video their names were Svetlana Markiyanovich and Karina Koltso, read out a statement saying they had been sent by the leadership of Hezbollah (a pro-Assad regime Lebanese Shiite political party and militia group) to gather information in Syria while posing as reporters. The authenticity of the footage could not be immediately confirmed.
A woman named Mariyanovich has an account in the popular Russian social network Odnoklassniki, which was last visited back on June 17. The page says that she is 30 years old, and lived in the Minsk region.
In an interview with Belarus Radio Liberty, the brother of 32-year-old Koltso said she left her home in Moldavia on July 25 to look for a job, but called a week ago saying she had been captured together with a friend.
Moldovan officials have not yet commented on the issue.
A Ukrainian journalist, Ankhar Kochneva, escaped from captivity in March after being held for five months by Free Syrian Army rebel fighters, she told RIA Novosti after getting home to Kiev.
According to UN data, more than 100,000 people have been killed in the two year Syrian conflict between the Syrian government and rebel forces.