On Aug. 5, American freelance journalist Lindsey Snell posted hints of a "crazy story" on Facebook, noting she'd been kidnapped by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria and had escaped "with the help of an incredible, selfless badass." She promised to share more details, but that never happened: She was detained by Turkish authorities two days after that post after crossing the border into Turkey and has been held there since, the State Department confirms, per NBC News. Her alleged crime: violating a military zone. "[Snell] is currently being held in a prison facility in Hatay province," State Department spokesman John Kirby says. Hatay's governor tells local media, "A US journalist was captured while she was trying to cross the border illegally. … We do not know if she is a spy or not." A State Department official tells the BBC it's not certain whether Snell was targeted because she's a journalist.
Snell, who has an extensive résumé covering the Middle East and North Africa for news outlets such as VICE and ABC News, said in her Facebook post she had been able to slip away from her original captors thanks to a cellphone she was able to trick them into giving her. "I bet 'don't give prisoners phones!' will make it into the new Jabhat Fateh al Sham employee handbook," she wrote, adding her ordeal included everything from "masked villains" and a blood-stained "cave prison" to "motorcycle escapes." Kirby notes consulate officials from the Adana office paid a visit to Snell on Aug. 26 and that the State Department has been corresponding with Turkish government authorities. Meanwhile, Snell's dad tells the New York Daily News, "[Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan did not want [Lindsey] to escape his realm and his wrath." (It's a convoluted situation in the Syria-Turkey region.)