The Local | Associated Press

Swedish journalists Magnus Falkehed and Niclas Hammarström "are experienced journalists and they know that they cannot move about in a regime-controlled area without a visa," Kassem Hamadé, a reporter for the Swedish newspaper Expressen, tells The Local. Falkehed and Hammarström were abducted Saturday as they tried to leave Syria.

The pair may have lacked the right papers, Hamadé said. Michael Calderone reported in August that Syria is stingy in granting visas to journalists: "News organizations can seek a Syrian government visa, but requests are often turned down and, even if issued, are only temporary."

At least 18 journalists are missing in Syria, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported in October. American journalists James Foley and Austin Tice have been missing for more than a year each.