Japanese freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda, who went missing in Syria in 2015, holding a sign bearing the message 'Please help. This is the last chance.'

ARA News

GAZIANTEP – Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, Nusra Front, is intending to hand over the Japanese hostage Jumpei Yasuda to the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS), a source close to Nusra told ARA News on Tuesday.

Yasuda, who went missing in Syria in 2015, has been held hostage by the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front. The group released a recent image for the Japanese freelance journalist earlier this week, holding a sign bearing the message “Please help. This is the last chance”, in a new call to his government and family.

Yasuda had earlier sent a message appealing to his government to make a deal with Nusra Front and get him released, but the Japanese government hasn’t responded.

On the other hand, ISIS is holding dozens of Nusra militants as hostages. The Nusra Front is now seeking an agreement for exchange of hostages with ISIS, which may include Yasuda.

“The Islamic State has demanded Nusra to hand the Japanese journalist over in exchange of Nusra prisoners,” a source close to Nusra leadership in Aleppo told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Over seven months the Nusra Front has been trying to get a ransom from Japan in order to release Yasuda, but there has been no response,” the informed source said. 

“Nusra believes that the Japanese government is unwilling to make any deal for the release of Yasuda, so it may get a greater deal with the Islamic State in this regard,” he said.  

Reporting by: Firas Yousef

Source: ARA News

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