Two American journalists who went missing during a vacation in Lebanon eight days ago were arrested Thursday in Syria after they crossed the Lebanese-Syrian border with the help of smugglers, Syrian officials said. Holli Chmela, 27, and Taylor Luck, 23 were rounded up after they crossed into the country, the Syrian foreign ministry said. It added the two will be handed over to the U.S. Embassy following a completion of "necessary measures."
The Syrian government confirmed that the two Americans were Chmela and Luck, deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood, adding "we are greatly relieved that the two are safe and are seeking consular access."
Lebanese authorities who were trying to determine whether the pair had left the country through regular border crossings said departure records do not show that Chmela and Luck had formally left the country. According to the AP, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut announced Wednesday the two went missing during a vacation in Lebanon and have not been heard from since Oct. 1, when they headed to northern Lebanon en route to Syria. Chmela and Luck had been working for the Jordan Times and were expected back in Amman on Saturday.