Two young Italian woman who have appeared in a video on Youtube begging Italian leaders for help to secure their release.
The video, which was posted on 31st December, features Vanessa Marzullo and Greta Ramelli, who were abducted by gunmen in northern Aleppo province in August, Al-Arabiya reports.
Both young women, who are in their twenties, appear clothed head to toe in black with only their faces visible: this would be to ensure Western media could not question that the two women were who they are reported to be.
One woman holds a piece of paper with the date December 17, though the video appeared to have been posted online on December 31.
The other, apparently reading from a script out of shot, urges the Italian government to bring them home before Christmas. The other reads from a script out of the camera shot, in what is presumed to be a pre written statement by their kidnappers. No one else appears in the footage.
The 23-second video is entitled “Al-Nusra Front detains two Italian employees because of their government’s participation in the coalition against it.”
But the video was not posted on the hosting site by any official accounts belonging to the Al-Nusra group, which is Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, nor do the women appear in front of the fundamentalist terrorist group’s flag as other hostages who appear in videos have done.
Back in August the Italian ministry denied reports that the two women were being held by Islamic State group but did not provide further information on which group it understood to have kidnapped the two young aid workers, who were working for Horryaty when they were abducted.
Their names are added to the list of kidnapped aid workers and journalists who have been used by the brutal regime in an online campaign of hate and fear. Many of those kidnapped and killed were in the country to help those suffering from the fighting and were not there as part of a political or military organisation. But for IS, a Westerner means money, and it means coverage.
While the reports in the West concentrate on their own countrymen and women who have gone missing or been killed, thousands of Syrians have also gone missing and an estimated 200,000 killed since the fighting began in March 2011.
Journalists have been warned that even using guides from countries which are supposed to oppose IS is by no means safe as they become rich pickings for greedy or desperate residents trying to survive the vicious conflict – or make enough money to pay for a passage out of the war torn country.