BEIRUT - Razan Zaitouneh, a prominent Syrian human rights lawyer who
went into hiding for her widely publicised work on atrocities committed
by President Bashar Assad's forces, has been kidnapped in a
rebel-held town, activists said on Tuesday.
Zaitouneh is a key
figure in the revolt-turned-civil war and has been instrumental in
providing information on Assad's crackdown in a country with little or
no free press. She has also criticized figures in the opposition.
was not clear who had taken the 36-year-old lawyer and members of her
team who work to document human rights violations, according to the
opposition-run Local Council for Douma, a town near Damascus where she
lives that has been bombarded by Assad's forces.
The council condemned "this treacherous and cowardly act, which resembles the work of the regime".
Local Coordination Committee, a countrywide network of opposition
activists, said Zaitouneh had been abducted with her husband, Wael
Hamada, and two colleagues, Samira Al Khalil and Nazem Al Hamadi.
activist, who asked to remain anonymous as the topic is sensitive, said
that some opposition activists and rebels in Douma had criticized
The lawyer had gone into hiding in March 2011 at the
start of the uprising against Assad, fearing arrest, but continued her
work, winning several awards.
Syria's conflict began with peaceful protests and, when these were violently suppressed, developed into an armed insurrection.
groups - including hardline Islamist groups, criminals and
Western-backed rebels - have taken control of large swathes of Syria and
more than 100,000 people have been killed, but the fighting has broadly
settled into a stalemate.