Two Spanish journalists taken hostage by an Al-Qaeda-linked group last year have been freed, the Spanish daily El Mundo reported Sunday.
The newspaper El Mundo said that reporter Javier Espinosa and photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova crossed into Turkey overnight, but provided no further details. They were expected to arrive in Spain Sunday.
“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.
Espinosa and 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.
The two were detained by the breakaway al-Qaeda group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in September, in the eastern province of Raqqa, where the militants dominate.
The third kidnapped journalist, Marc Marginedas, a correspondent for Catalan daily El Periodico, was freed early this month.
Syria is the most dangerous conflict in the world for reporters, partially because of the risk of kidnapping by rebels or pro-government forces.
With the release of Espinosa and Vilanova, there are at least another nine foreign correspondents missing in Syria, and 10 Syrian reporters.