A video purporting to show two female Italian aid workers held by militants in Syria was released late Wednesday, with one of them saying they are in danger of being killed and urging their government to seek their release.
The video shows one of the women holding a piece of paper with the date December 17 and says they are being held by al-Qaida’s Syrian wing, Nusra Front.
The video published on YouTube shows two young women sitting in front of a blank wall, seeming to read off a script.
“We supplicate our government and its militaries to bring us back home before Christmas,” the other woman says in English, appearing to read from a prepared statement. “We are in big danger and we could be killed. The government and its militaries are responsible [for] our lives.”
The women in the video are allegedly Vanessa Marzullo and Greta Ramelli, both in their 20s. They had been working on humanitarian projects for the aid group Horryaty when they were abducted by gunmen in northern Aleppo province.
An Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment Thursday.
In August the ministry said two Italian aid workers had been kidnapped in Syria, without giving their names, but gave no details on which group it believed had kidnapped the pair.
However, the video was not posted on any websites or Twitter accounts normally used by the militant group. The 23-second video also did not include any logos of the group; previous videos have shown hostages in front of a Nusra flag.
Nusra Front and the militant Islamic State group have held groups of Westerners hostage in Syria, which has descended into a splintered civil war.
The Islamic State group beheaded several male hostages including aid workers and journalists in 2014. Nusra Front released hostages last year, including a group of Greek Orthodox nuns in March and a U.S. writer in August.