Spanish journalists freed in Syria

By BBC

Three Spanish journalists who were kidnapped while working in Syria last year have been released and are due to return to Spain, the government says.

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre disappeared from the northern city of Aleppo 10 months ago.

Parts of Aleppo are controlled by rebel groups including so-called Islamic State (IS), who have kidnapped and killed journalists in the past.

It is not yet clear who kidnapped Mr Pampliega, Mr Lopez and Mr Sastre.

The Spanish government statement said that the men were safe and well, and waiting in Turkey to be brought back to Spain.

The statement said allies including Turkey and Qatar were instrumental in freeing them.

Elsa Gonzalez, the president of Spain’s federation of journalists, said the news was a cause for “joy and emotion”.

Previously, in 2014, two Spanish journalists were freed after being held for six months by IS.

The media rights group Reporters Without Borders ranks Syria as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists.

Scores of journalists, both foreign nationals and Syrian, have been killed there.

Air strikes in Aleppo have killed dozens of people in recent weeks, in the worst phase of violence the city has seen since the start of the Syrian civil war more than five years ago.

But a truce was called on Wednesday, bringing some respite to the city.

 

  

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