Three Spanish journalists kidnapped in Syria freed: press body, govt

7th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Three Spanish journalists kidnapped in Syria some 10 months ago have been freed, the Spanish Press Federation (FAPE) and government said on Saturday.

"All three have been released, Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre, and are on their way (to Spain)," said FAPE president Elsa Gonzalez.

A government spokeswoman confirmed the release, adding: "All three are well."

The trio, who had been working for various Spanish media around the time of their disappearance, were last seen in July 2015 in the northwestern city of Aleppo where they had been reporting on fighting.

Pampliega, a freelance war reporter born in 1982, contributed to AFP's text coverage of the civil war in Syria for a period up to 2013.

A passionate reporter who tended to focus on human interest stories, he also contributed to AFP's coverage in Iraq.

Lopez, born in 1971, is a prize-winning photographer who contributed images to AFP from several war zones, including from the Syrian conflict up until 2013 and Iraq in 2014.

Sastre, 35, had also worked in trouble spots around the world for Spanish television, radio and press.

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

It says dozens of journalists have been killed since the conflict broke out in 2011 in Syria, where various armed factions are battling President Bashar Al-Assad's regime and each other.

In August 2014, the Islamic State group decapitated US journalist James Foley, who was seized in northern Syria in 2012.

In 2013 three other Spanish journalists were seized by Islamic State: El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa, freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova and Marc Marginedas of El Periodico newspaper. They were all released.

© 2016 AFP

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