German woman escapes terrorists in Syria with baby she had in captivity

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year and gave birth while in captivity has escaped with her baby to Turkey this week.

The woman, believed to be freelance journalist Janina Findeisen, is said to have been taken in October last year after being lured to Syria with the promise of exclusive information.

She reportedly had her baby in December while being held by a group of terrorists demanding 5million euros for her release, but escaped this week and met police in Ankara on Wednesday.

The German foreign ministry said: ‘The German woman and her baby who was born while she was held hostage are in good condition considering the circumstances.’ It added: ‘The German government is relieved about the outcome of this case given the extremely difficult overall situation in Syria.’

The woman and her baby are now under the care of German consular officials and members of the German federal police in Turkey.

German mass circulation newspaper Bild said the woman was a freelance journalist who had worked for Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily and broadcaster NDR.

Reporters without Borders Germany, a non-profit group, welcomed the news.


‘This case shows again the incalculable dangers to which journalists are continually exposed in the Syrian war,’ said Christian Mihr, the group’s director.

He said it was important that most German media outlets had refrained from writing about and sensationalising the case.

A ministry spokeswoman said she could give no further details about the case, citing privacy considerations. The German federal police was not immediately available to comment.

Focus news magazine reported on the case in February, naming the woman as 27-year-old Janina Findeisen, who published under the pseudonym Marie Delhaes.

It said the woman had been held by a faction within the Islamist Nusra Front terrorist group, recently renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which demanded the ransom.

JFS on Wednesday tweeted a denial that it was behind the kidnapping, claiming it freed the woman and her child from the prison where they were being held by an unnamed ‘small group’, the SITE Intelligence Group reported.

Focus, citing federal police sources, reported in February that Findeisen had been lured to Syria by a woman she knew from Bonn with the promise of exclusive information about Islamist terrorists.

The German embassy in Ankara was preparing the woman’s return to Germany and thanked the Turkish government and other international partners for help they provided on the case.