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Parents appeal for release of journalist kidnapped in Syria

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

The parents of a Boston-based foreign correspondent missing in Syria ­appealed publicly to his presumed captors Thursday to release him.

James Foley, 39, has been missing since Thanksgiving Day. Foley’s father, John, urged “the people who have him” to let his family know his condition and his whereabouts.

“We’d like them to contact us,” he said in a brief press conference at the family home in Rochester, N.H.

“We just pray that he’s ­released,” he said, calling his son, who has been working in Syria for more than a year, an “objective reporter” and a “passionate journalist” determined to cover an important story.


“We miss him terribly,” he said. “He’s in our thoughts and prayers every day.”

Foley, a Marquette University graduate, has reported on conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, where he was taken captive in April 2011 by forces loyal to Libya’s former leader, Moammar Khadafy. At the time, he was on assignment for GlobalPost, a Boston-based inter­national news organization. Foley and two other journalists spent 44 days in Libyan prisons before being released, the organization said. Foley later returned to the country to cover the overthrow of the Khadafy regime.

This time, Foley was reportedly taken by unidentified gunmen in the northwest of Syria, his family said, an area with heavy fighting and high death tolls in the ongoing conflict. Working as a freelance correspondent, he was traveling ­toward the Turkish border on Thanksgiving Day when he was intercepted by an unmarked car, according to GlobalPost.

Foley’s family had initially asked that the kidnapping not be disclosed, but recently decided to make his capture public.

The family has set up a website,, along with a Facebook page and Twitter account, to spread the word.

Martin Finucane can be reach­ed at