Spanish journalists kidnapped in Syria are freed

Sunday 30 March 2014 16.09
Ricardo Garcia Vilanova (L) and Javier Espinosa were freed yesterday after being held more than six months in Syria (Pic: EPA)
Ricardo Garcia Vilanova (L) and Javier Espinosa were freed yesterday after being held more than six months in Syria (Pic: EPA)

Two Spanish journalists taken hostage by an al-Qaeda-linked group last year have been freed, the Spanish daily El Mundo has reported.

The two were freed yesterday after being held for more than six months.

On its website, the paper stated that "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".

Mr Espinosa and fellow hostage freelance photographer Ricardo Garca Vilanova were kidnapped last September at a "checkpoint" in Syria's border frontier with Turkey.

They 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 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a jihadist faction in Syria with roots in al-Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate.

A third journalist kidnapped with them, 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.

Keywords: spain, syria