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Middle east

Spanish journalists kidnapped in Syria released

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-31

Al Qaeda-linked militants have freed two Spanish journalists taken hostage in Syria last year and held captive for more than six months, the newspaper one of the men worked for reported Sunday.

Spanish daily El Mundo said reporter Javier Espinosa, who was taken hostage along with photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova in September, had contacted the newspaper after the two men were set free.

"At 21:27 (Spanish time, 2027 GMT Saturday) veteran El Mundo Middle East correspondent Javier Espinosa called the paper's newsroom and said they had been released and handed over to the Turkish military," the newspaper said on its website.

There was no immediate word on the health of the two journalists, whether any demands were made by their kidnappers or any ransom paid.

Espinosa and Vilanova were kidnapped at a "checkpoint" in Syria's border frontier with Turkey while attempting to leave the country.

Their captors were earlier identified as members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a jihadist faction in Syria with roots in al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate.

A third Spanish journalist, Marc Marginedas, kidnapped at the same time as Espinosa and Vilanova was freed earlier this month.

There are at least nine foreign correspondents still missing in Syria, including four French journalists taken hostage nine months ago.

Another 10 Syrian reporters are also missing, while it is believed that many more Syrians who work as media activists are being held in captivity.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Date created : 2014-03-30


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