Konstantin Zhuravlyov is missing for two weeks after crossing from Turkey into Syria.
'You go wherever you want, you put a tent where you want, you eat when you want, what you want, you take pictures, you look around, you live'. Picture: Konstantin Zhuravlyov
The 32 year old photographer and blogger - famous for his 777 day trip around the world ending last year - was travelling from the Siberia city of Tomsk to the Sahara when he went missing. He crossed into Syria against the advice of the Russian foreign ministry but was intent on heading to North Africa to get 'face-to-face with the desert'.
The rebels claim that Zhuravlyov is a 'spy' for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. They vowed to broadcast a video with an alleged 'confession', according to social site messages. The Russian Embassy in Damascus is urgently seeking information on Zhuravlyov whose exact whereabouts are unknown.
He was reported to be held by the Islamist group Liwa al-Tawhid. He was seized in Syria's second city Aleppo.
'The Russian embassy is in close contact with the Syrian authorities to urgently establish all the circumstances of this incident and to free the Russian citizen,' said foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.
'We cannot understand why the man, knowing about military actions in Syria, should hitchhike there voluntarily. What did he expect? What do people acting like this man expect?' the Russian vice-consul Vasily Kartuzov told Interfax.
'Most likely, Zhuravlyov is with the militants of the Islamic Liwa al-Tawhid group, which claims to have detained a 'Russian spy', said a Syrian security service source, as quoted by Itar-Tass.
A story by The Siberian Times in August 2012 quoted the detained man saying he had visited 37 countries in his round the world odyssey - and what he specially enjoyed was the 'sense of freedom'. During this trip, he visited Syria so he was not new to the country.
'It was wonderful to be able to sleep in the street, gateway, forest, swamp, on the beach.' When his tent was stolen in Cuba, he slept wrapped only in his Russian flag.
The former computer programmer explained before he left on his 777 day adventure: 'You go wherever you want, you put a tent where you want, you eat when you want, what you want, you take pictures, you look around, you live.'
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