Two Spanish journalists freed in Syria: Report
Two Spanish journalists taken hostage by an al-Qaeda-linked group last year have been freed, the Spanish daily El Mundo reports.
“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 on Sunday.
Espinosa and fellow hostage freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova were kidnapped, along with a third Spanish journalist, last September at a “checkpoint” in Syria’s border frontier with Turkey. All three had been attempting to leave the country.
There was no immediate word on the health of the two journalists, whether any demands were made by their kidnappers or any ransom paid.
Their captors were earlier identified as members of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a terrorist faction in Syria with roots in al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate.
The third kidnapped journalist, Marc Marginedas, a correspondent for Catalan daily El Periodico, was freed early this month.
Four French journalists, kidnapped nine months ago, remain in captivity in Syria.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. The West and its regional allies have been fuelling the unrest by providing militants with money and weapons.
According to some reports, the death toll from the three-year conflict exceeds 140,000 and a total of 7.8 million others have been displaced due to the violence.