Three Spanish journalists and a Japanese freelance reporter have gone missing in Syria in recent weeks, raising fears of their possible abduction by the Islamic State and bringing back chilling images of Isis beheadings of journalists.
According to the Spanish Federation of Journalists, the three Spanish journalists, identified as Antonio Pampliega, José Manuel López and Ángel Sastre, travelled to Syria from Turkey on 10 July, and are feared to have gone missing from the city of Aleppo.
Isis is said to control much of the northern and eastern Aleppo region, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Spanish diplomats have reportedly confirmed they have lost contact with the three journalists.
Last month, a Japanese reporter, who is incidentally a friend of the slain Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who was beheaded by Isis in January, was also feared to be missing in Syria.
Jumpei Yasuda had reportedly informed a friend that he was visiting Syria, but his Twitter and blog posts stopped abruptly last month, raising fears of his kidnapping.
Yasuda had previously been abducted an armed group in Iraq in 2004, according to The Japan Times.
Among the Spanish journalists who are feared missing, Lopez is a photojournalist, while Pampliega and Sastre are reporters, the latter working with the Spanish television network, Cuatro, and radio station Onda Cero, according to The Guardian.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 12 foreign correspondents have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the conflict, while more than 90 journalists have been kidnapped.
"The disappearance of these four journalists underscores that Syria remains an extremely risky place for the press," CPJ's Middle East Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said on the website.