A Times reporter has been shot and a photographer badly beaten in Syria after they were double-crossed by the people charged with providing them safe passage across the border, the newspaper has reported.
Anthony Loyd was shot twice in the leg, while photographer Jack Hill was assaulted after he tried to escape from their captors in Tall Rifat, near the Turkish border.
They had been attempting to return to Turkey with a local fixer and bodyguards after a three-day assignment in the ruined city of Aleppo when their car was forced off the road, the newspaper said.
The paper said they identified their captors as men charged with providing them with safe passage to the border.
After the fixer and Mr Hill tried to escape, Mr Loyd was shot to prevent him trying to do the same.
The paper said that they were released after the Islamic Front, an anti-extremist rebel group, confronted the gang. After Mr Loyd was treated in a local hospital, the pair and their fixer made it across the border to Turkey.
The Times' Anthony Loyd has said that the victims of the alleged Syrian chemical attack were reportedly "frothing at the mouth".
He told ITV News: "The video shot by medical staff [in the immediate minutes after the alleged attack] shows some of the symptoms of repetitive twitching of limbs, semi-conscious trance state, dilated pupils, foaming at the mouth and nose."
James Harding, who is 43, was one of the youngest journalists ever to take charge of The Times and has been at its helm for five years. Educated at Cambridge, Mr Harding began his journalistic career at the Financial Times.
He opened their Shanghai Bureau and served as Bureau Chief in Washington before joining The Times as Business Editor.
Speaking following his resignation, Mr Harding said: "For any journalist, it is an extraordinary privilege and a point of pride to see your work appear beneath the masthead of The Times, the greatest name in newspapers in the world.
"I feel hugely honoured to have been given the opportunity to edit the paper and deeply grateful for the experience of working among the finest journalists in the world. This paper has an unrivalled history and, I am extremely confident, a long and impressive future ahead of it.”
News International and Times Newspapers Ltd have announced the resignation of James Harding as Editor of The Times. Mr Harding informed the national independent directors of The Times this morning. He will leave at the end of the month.
James has been a distinguished editor for The Times, attracting talented staff to the paper and leading it through difficult times. I have great respect for him as a colleague and friend, and truly hope we can work together again.
– Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation