Javier Espinosa, a Spanish newspaper reporter, and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, a freelance photographer, were a few miles from the safety of the Turkish border when al-Qaida militants kidnapped them in northern Syria in September. On Tuesday Espinosa's wife broke an almost three-month silence surrounding their disappearance in the hope that publicity might bring what negotiations had failed to deliver.
In doing so Monica Prieto, who has also reported on the Syrian war, has cast new light on a conflict in which about 35 media and aid workers have been kidnapped and 55 killed, and which now ranks among the most dangerous of any war to cover in the past 50 years.
Prieto's appeal has also raised questions about the effectiveness of blackouts as a means of winning captives' freedom. The families of at least two other missing reporters continue to avoid publicity, fearing that it may increase the value of the victims in the eyes of their abductors.