A YouTube account believed to be affiliated with jihadist groups uploaded a video of two Italian women kidnapped by the al-Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra in August in Syria. The women beg their government to secure their release.
Greta Ramelli, 20, and Vanessa Marzullo, 21, appear in a concrete room, dressed in niqabs, and holding a paper with the date December 17, 2014 printed on it. However, unlike other videos, the al-Nusra flag is missing. The account does not belong to official al-Nusra accounts.
“We are Gretta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo,” said Ramelli. “We supplicate our government and its mediators to bring us back home before Christmas. We are in big danger and could be killed. The government and it mediators are responsible of our lives [sic].”
One unnamed Italian diplomat told The Daily Beast the video “is perplexing officials” because they thought negotiations to release the women were at an end.
“There’s surprise at the captors’ decision to upload this video now,” said the diplomat. “Obviously it is meant to put pressure on us but it may be more connected with the captors need to display their hostage trophies for reasons of internal jihadist politics and maneuvering.”
The women were on a trip to Syria with humanitarian group Horryaty. Marzullo’s father begged her to stay home.
“What could I do?” said Salvatore. “Vanessa is an adult, a golden girl, brave and responsible. I tried to reason with her, I tried to convince her in every way I could not to do what she had in mind. But when you realize that all your talk, your thoughts, and eventually all your prayers are not heard, what can you do? I could not stop her from doing what she wanted. It’s not like you can take a person and tie them down. Tell me what I had to do. Was I wrong? I had to tie her down?”