Syrian rebels have released a video on YouTube purporting to show an abducted Russian engineer who they intend to trade for a Saudi Arabian prisoner, state news agency Itar-Tass reported.
In the video posted by Islam.Tube on Tuesday and first reported by Itar-Tass on Thursday, a bearded man who identified himself as Sergei Gorbunov, is shown stumbling over his words as he reads out a written statement.
The man said unidentified rebels have threatened to put a knife into him unless Syrian and Russian authorities swap him for a Saudi Arabian national being held in detention by the Syrian government through the International Committee of the Red Cross within five days.
The Saudi Arabian national, identified in the video as Khaled Suleiman, was reportedly detained by Syrian authorities in the city of Hamah, 213 kilometers north of Damascus.
Gorbunov did not provide further details on his own abduction or Suleiman's detention and no other primary sources confirmed his account.
Itar-Tass said it was unable to confirm the authenticity of the video.
Gorbunov is the second Russian national that Islamist rebels claim to have abducted in Syria this month, after they posted a photo of the passport of Konstantin Zhuravlyov, a famous Siberian traveller, on Oct. 12.
Unidentified rebels claim that Zhuravlyov, who went missing in the Turkish town of Ordu on Oct. 2, is a spy who illegally crossed the Syrian border from Turkey, an act which is punishable by a prison term, Itar-Tass reported earlier, citing a source within the Syrian security services.
Video showing the reportedly abducted Russian engineer reading out a written statement. (YouTube / ISLAM.TUBE)