Spanish journalists return home after abduction in Syria

Three Spanish freelance journalists flew back to Madrid on May 8, 2016, 10 months after Islamist militants abducted them from the Syrian city of Aleppo in July 2015.

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez, and Angel Sastre went missing on July 12, 48 hours after entering Syria. The Spanish daily El Pais subsequently reported that members of Al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, had taken them captive.

The details of their release and the negotiations that led to it were not made public, but the Spanish government said their freedom had been made “possible thanks to the collaboration of allies and friends, especially in the final phase, from Turkey and Qatar,” the government-funded Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera reported on May 8.

The Spanish intelligence agency CNI regularly received word that the men were alive, news reports said.

Speaking to Spain’s EFE news agency on the day of their release, the journalists said they were treated well during their captivity, but did not know where they had been held.