3/11/2013, BEIRUT, March 11 (Source CNN / RT / RIA Novosti)

Ukrainian journalist taken hostage by Syrian rebels in October 2012 escaped from her captors today. The rebels had demanded a $50 million ransom from the Ukrainian government for Ankhar Kochneva’s release, the Russian state-run RIA Novosti reported. She has written uncensored articles, which brough her death threats:’Bloody bandits and Western lies: What’s really going on in Syria’Published time: July 08, 2012

“I thought they would have killed me eventually and would say that it was the army who did it,” Kochneva told Russian radio website BFM.ru. “So I made a decision to escape. I simply came to the street and (left) and maybe in 15 kilometers I met normal people who helped me to get to the army’s side.”

 Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva, abducted by Syrian militants in October and held for a $50 million ransom, has escaped and is now safe, she told RIA Novosti by telephone on Monday.

“I was a captive of the Free Syrian Army military council,” she said.

“At about 6 a.m. this morning I ran away from a Homs suburb. I was held in al-Bueida, a south Homs suburb; there is a lake there and this morning I was carried across that lake.”

“I walked and walked, and the first person I met was the one I needed,” she said.

Kochneva’s abductors mistreated her, she said.

“It was bad. Their [the abductors’] living conditions are poor and my conditions were even worse,” the journalist said. “I will now have to undergo medical treatment for a long time and at great cost.”

Her ordeal as a captive took a toll on her health, Kochneva said. “I lost about 30 kilograms,” or 66 pounds. “My health condition is very bad because they didn’t treat me at all. I spent the whole winter in a room with a broken window. When the snow fell it was in the room, too, and on the ceiling. It’s a miracle that I didn’t become seriously sick.”

She walked around minefields to escape, she told RIA Novosti,  adding that she was now being protected and “en route to Damascus.”

News of her escape was broken by her ex-husband Dmitry Petrov, after which a message appeared on Kochneva’s LiveJournal page, saying: “Didn’t expect [me]? Your Alice has returned from behind the looking glass. Details to come later.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that Kochneva escaped her captors.

“We are expecting her to arrive at the Ukrainian Embassy in Syria tomorrow, on Tuesday,” a ministry source told RIA Novosti by telephone.

In mid-January, Petrov said her kidnappers had reduced the ransom for Kochneva from $50 million to $20 million.

Kochneva, known as an expert on Syrian affairs, has been in Syria since the start of the conflict. An outspoken supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, she was freelancing for several Russian media outlets, including the NTV, RenTV and RT channels and the Utro.Ru news portal.

After she was kidnapped in October, she appeared in a video posted on YouTube in which she “confessed” to working for Russian intelligence. Her captors claim Kochneva was armed and had acted as an interpreter for Russian officers.

In this interview from July 8, 2012 she explained among other things explains what happened to the Syrian refugees in Turkey: rebels channeling the inhabitants of contested villages towards Turkey by they cut them off. (Normally they would have tried to stay with relatives). Kochneva reports of blatant human rights violations by the rebel militias such as kidnapping and torture on children, murder of Christian priests .
She revealed some important information about the method of the Rebels” :  “Demonstrations” of Al-Dschassira and Al-Arabiya television channels are arranged like weather forecast. She found out because she had switched one of the transmitter once randomly when they  announced violent demonstrations against told Assad’s regime in Damascus at a place which was in their sight. Kochneva saw definitely no rally. Exactly two hours later a group of protestors appeared however, television cameras were already in position, called slogans a quarter of an hour, and already were the television images in the box.

Kochneva, who specializes in tourism writing and not war reporting, told BFM.ru that she planned to remain in Syria, saying it is “like a friend who got in trouble. You need to leave everything and help your friend to outlast this trouble and emerge from it.”

She defended Bashar al-Assad regime’s war against the Syrian rebels.

“Everyone shouts that Syria is doing something wrong, but I’m sorry, what should it do?” she said. “What would, for example, Germany do if someone would destroy its railway, kidnap its people and ask money for them, kill them? What would they do? None of the countries were in Syria’s shoes. The world has gone blind. People need to hear about what’s going on here. I will definitely let people know what is really happening here.”