L’enlèvement de Richard Engel sent mauvais : la version de NBC est totalement improbable.
He says the kidnappers were members of the shabiha, a government militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, who talked of exchanging the crew for four Iranians and two members of the Lebanese Shiite paramilitary group Hizbullah being held by FSA rebels.
The NBC version, though, omits much and is at odds with what security sources involved in the freeing of the group say happened. Declining to be named for this article, they say the abduction and rescue of the TV crew “wasn’t as clean cut as stated.” They say the network is at pains to present the incident in the best possible light, masking a series of basic security lapses that may have contributed to the capture of Engel and his production team.
First, the sources say the gunmen who seized the crew may also have included rogue members of the rebel FSA–something top FSA commanders are keen to obscure. According to one source, “NBC’s security advisers were convinced that there was some FSA involvement in this and contacted wealthy Syrian-American donors of the rebel group, pointing out that Richard had been supportive of the uprising against Assad. They urged them to put pressure on the FSA. They really screwed down on them.” Top FSA commanders were alarmed and promised to help.
The disclosure that rogue FSA fighters may been involved in the abduction of the NBC crew will alarm Western correspondents working in Syria, who have to rely on FSA rebels for their safety in a particularly testing war zone of constantly shifting frontlines.
The proliferation of fringe armed groups, some with criminal and smuggling backgrounds, and Jihadist militias, especially in the Syrian province of Idlib, where the NBC crew was kidnapped, and in Aleppo, where they’d been for several days before the abduction, is making the conflict zone especially dangerous for reporters. So too is the fragmentation of the FSA when it comes to command and control.
Ce qui n’empêche pas France 24 de s’aligner sur une dépêche AFP qui reprend sans distance les élucubrations de Engel :
Selon M. Engel, leurs ravisseurs ont été entraînés en Iran et recrutés par le Hezbollah libanais, et voulaient échanger les journalistes contre quatre agents iraniens, deux individus libanais et d’autres personnes capturées par les rebelles syriens.
« Ils voulaient nous emmener dans une place forte du Hezbollah en Syrie (...) On était en route quand on couru vers un poste de contrôle tenu par des rebelles » syriens, a-t-il précisé.