MOSCOW — A Ukrainian blogger and journalist captured by a Syrian rebel group five months ago announced that she had escaped her captors on Monday but offered little detail, telling a Russian radio station that she “just walked out and left.”
A spokesman for
In an interview with the radio station Business FM, Ms. Kochneva said she “just walked out and left, and in about 15 kilometers I met some normal people who helped me cross over” to government-controlled territory.
Later, she told RIA-Novosti, a news agency, that she had been held in a suburb of Homs called al-Bueida, and had been the captive of the head of the local military council of the Free Syrian Army.
On her blog, Ms. Kochneva was more mysterious, writing: “Your Alice has returned from behind the looking-glass. Details later.”
Late in January, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Leonid Kozhara, told reporters that he had asked the European Union for help in seeking Ms. Kochneva’s release.
Her former husband, Dmitri Petrov, said he was not surprised to hear from Ms. Kochneva on Monday morning, since he had received updates from “people who were working to free her” and believed that her release was a matter of time.
“I can’t say exactly, but everything was moving toward her being freed,” he said. Asked if a process of negotiations had led to her release, he said, “I think it dragged on for a long time, and she sped it up.”
Ms. Kochneva, who has a 10-year-old daughter in Moscow, told the radio station she would remain in Syria and continue her reporting, because “people should hear what is going on here.” An opponent of Western intervention, she moved to Damascus as the conflict was heating up and appeared regularly on Syrian state television, offering pro-government perspectives.