Two Spanish journalists were freed after being held captive in Syria for more than six months, according to news reports. The journalists–Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova–are back in Spain, according to news sources.
Espinosa, correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo, and Garcia Vilanova, an award-winning freelance photographer, were abducted by the Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in September 2013, their families said in a statement in December. The two were abducted by armed men at a checkpoint near the northern Syria town of Tal-Abyad and taken to a detention facility run by ISIS, their families said.
El Mundo reported on March 30, 2014, that the journalists were transferred to Turkey on Saturday before boarding a plane to Spain, where received medical examination.
In a news conference on March 30, 2014, at El Mundo‘s Madrid headquarters, Espinosa and Garcia Vilanova said they could not provide details of their captivity or how they won their freedom, according to news sources.
At least 61 journalists were kidnapped in Syria in 2013, most by rebel forces, according to CPJ research. Some of the journalists have since escaped or been released.