Three freed Spanish journalists return home after abduction in Syria

Three-freed-Spanish-journalists-return-home-after-abduction-in-Syria.  MADRID,  Three Spanish journalists returned home on Sunday, only recently freed from 10 months of captivity in Syria.

Aleppo remains an epicenter of violence in Syria, with parts of the city controlled by rebel groups and other parts occupied by the Islamic State and other extremist militants. File photo by UPI/Ahmad Deeb | License Photo















Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre were abducted in Aleppo last summer. Spanish defence ministry plane ferried the newly released journalists from Turkey to Madrid. The three emerged to cheers from friends and family waiting on the tarmac.

The three recently freed journalists were reportedly in good spirits as they arrived home.

According to the BBC, Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, credited allies Turkey and Qatar in negotiating and securing the release of the three journalists, “especially in the final phase.”

Officials believe the three journalists were kidnapped and held by an al-Qaida network in Syria called the al-Nusra Front.

The three Spanish journalists went missing just a couple weeks after arriving in Aleppo in July 2015.

“According to the three journalists, they were treated well by their captors,” Al Jazeera’s Stef Dekker reported. “We know from past negotiations from past hostage releases that money often changes hands.”

Two Spanish journalists were freed in 2014 after abducted and held by Islamic State militants for six months.

By Brooks Hays