Syria 'holding hostages' to punish France

The French government believes that two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq may have been taken to Syria with the connivance of authorities in Damascus. French officials would not comment officially yesterday but suspicions were confirmed by a senior politician and reported by the newspaper, Le Figaro, which employs one of the missing men. The paper suggested Syria’s intervention was “cynical” and even hostile but could lead, paradoxically, to the release of Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, captured by a mysterious opposition group in Iraq 49 days ago. The men are said to have been repeatedly moved around, with a final stop near Ramadi, in western Iraq before crossing into Syria, say sources in Muslim clerical circles in Baghdad. Group Profile

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