Follow Christiane on social media:

On Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Amanpour producers on Twitter

What time is Amanpour on CNN?

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Photographer describes his 81 days of captivity in Syria

January 16th, 2014
10:20 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The first five weeks of photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie’s captivity among Syrian rebels were the most difficult.

“They would force me to wrestle with them, to show me how tough they were, and they snapped my ribs on the right so I couldn’t breathe for a while,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

It was “just amusement” to them, he said.

“I was handcuffed for about five weeks, to a bed mostly; and the first three weeks, I was blindfolded.”

At least 29 journalists were killed in Syria last year, and some 60 others abducted.

Alpeyrie was kidnapped by an armed rebel group at a checkpoint near Damascus last April. He would be held for 81 days.

He told Amanpour he was trying to “up my game” by getting closer to the Syrian capital before he was captured.

The first group that held him, he said, were “basically moderates – Muslims who are freedom fighters fighting against the government.”

“They are also local people, and they also kidnap for a living. That’s very common in the region.”

They lied to him constantly, he said.

“”They always [told] me I couldn’t get out because Hezbollah was around, and I was surrounded – which was true actually but that wasn’t the reason why they were holding me.”

Some of the rebels who held him, he said, certainly seemed to have jihadist inclinations.

“They had heavy beards and they were shaved on top, so that’s a sign always. But I would say compared to other Iraqi extremist groups, al Qaeda, they’re not as hardcore in terms of their religious belief.”

In the end, he said, money was what mattered to them.

So how did he get out?

“From what I can tell it’s somebody close to the regime, the Assad regime, who paid my ransom for his own benefits – mostly to get out of a blacklist written by the EU.”

In other words, a businessman may have gotten Alpeyrie out of captivity as a way to curry favor with European governments.

“He got me out. I was hidden in a mosque in his area for about 24 hours, then smuggled back in the trunk of a car to Lebanon. In Beirut I escaped to the French embassy.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Journalism • Latest Episode • Syria
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Arnold

    Muslim terrorists!

    January 17, 2014 at 9:10 am | Reply
  2. jmsabbagh

    Great prospective.Syria is becoming the breeding ground for terrorism.Jalal

    January 17, 2014 at 10:33 am | Reply
  3. jmsabbagh

    Great article,the Syrian regime will prevail,the AlQaida thugs and Saudi money will be ashamed .

    January 18, 2014 at 11:29 am | Reply
  4. jmsabbagh

    l hope you read my post "The Syrian refugees are victimized " Jalal

    January 18, 2014 at 11:30 am | Reply
  5. Maurice Consuegra

    An intriguing discussion may be valued at comment. I do believe you should write on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally persons are not enough to communicate on such topics. Yet another. Cheers

    December 20, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  6. Tomas Keeble

    The next time I read a weblog, I really hope who’s doesnt disappoint me approximately this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but When i thought youd have something intriguing to convey. All I hear is really a few whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy searching for attention.

    January 12, 2021 at 1:48 am | Reply
  7. Molly Shehorn

    As soon as I noticed this website I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

    January 28, 2021 at 10:26 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.