September 25, 2015 / 2:31 PM / in 2 years

Islamic State frees Kurdish photographer in prisoner swap: press watchdog

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have freed a Kurdish photographer they kidnapped last year in northeastern Syria as part of a prisoner swap with a Kurdish militia, the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders said on Friday.

The jihadists, who control large areas of Iraq and Syria, are still holding a Kurdish reporter they kidnapped at the same time, RSF said in a statement.

Massoud Aqeel was released on Sep. 21 under a deal between Islamic State and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which have seized wide areas of territory from Islamic State this year. The group still holds reporter Farhad Hamo, RSF said.

The two men were working for Rudaw television, based in Iraqi Kurdistan, it said. It did not say how many other prisoners on either side had been released.

Islamic State is notorious for its brutal, documented executions of captured fighters and civilians.

In August, it released 22 Christians it had abducted from villages in northeastern Syria, according to the monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rightsa monitor. But other Christians, including more than 100 taken near Palmyra in the center of the country the same month, remained in IS captivity.

Reporting by John Davison, editing by Larry King

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