Swedish journalist speaks about Syrian captivity

1:47 min

A Swedish journalist has been freed after being held by Syrian government forces for a week. Joakim Medin went missing in areas controlled by Islamic State militants, and it had been feared he had been captured by the jihadists.

Joakim Medin told the newspaper Expressen that he and a Kurdish colleague had been detained at a Syrian army roadblock near the town of al-Qamishli and kept in isolation, and interrogated several times, but otherwise not treated violently. He says they had walked down the same street previously without interference.

Medin spoke with Radio Sweden's Besir Kavak:

"All of a sudden, they took us. My colleague was just as surprised as I was, because this had never happened before. they had never arrested a foreign journalist before. I was the first," Medin said. He also said that the reason for his being taken may have been that for them to test the strength of the Kurds after the large conflicts and fighting in al-Hasakah last month.

The representative of the Syrian-Kurdish party PYD in Sweden, Shiyar Ali, told Expressen that negotiations had gone on all day Saturday to free the Swede, but the talks stalled, when Medin was taken to Damascus for further interrogation. Then Kurdish guerillas captured around 20 Syrian soldiers, including a high ranking officer, and they were exchanged for the two detained journalists around 11:00 PM Saturday night.

Medin is now back in Qamishli in order to complete the assignments he was there for. He was the last western journalist remaining in Kobane when IS took the city, and he told Radio Sweden that has a large contact network in Syria.

"Both friends and family have taken this very hard, especially," Medin said, "when there was speculation that it was IS which had taken me, because then everyone knows what would have happened." He said he is sorry is he caused anyone to worry about him but is happy for the support people have shown, both during and after his imprisonment.