Syria Holding Two U.S. Journalists Reported Missing in Lebanon

AP

DAMASCUS, Syria ā€”  Syria says it is holding two missing American journalists for illegally crossing the border from Lebanon.

A Foreign Ministry statement says Holli Chmela, 27, and Taylor Luck, 23 were arrested Thursday after they crossed into the country with the help of smugglers.

It says the two will be handed over to the U.S. Embassy following a completion of "necessary measures."

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut announced Wednesday the two disappeared during a vacation in Lebanon and have not been heard from since Oct. 1, when they headed to northern Lebanon en route to Syria.

An official with the U.S. Embassy in Damascus confirmed two Americans are being held by Syrian authorities and added that the embassy was trying to confirm their identities.

Luck, of Oak Park, Illinois, has been a reporter at the Jordan Times for the past 18 months. He graduated last year from Beloit College in Wisconsin as an international relations major but also studied Arabic, said the school’s public affairs director Ron Nief. He said the college awarded Luck a grant to return to Jordan for study.

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