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Spanish Reporters Return Home from Syria Captivity, Qatar Claims Mediation - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Madrid- Three Spanish freelance journalists held captive in Syria last year returned to Madrid on Sunday in apparent good health as Spanish authorities remained mum on the circumstances of their release.

But Qatar’s news agency said on Saturday that Doha helped Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre to be set free.

Qatar has previously mediated for the release of foreigners held by Nusra Front.

The three journalists were welcomed by a number of officials and their family members at the Torrejon de Ardoz air force base on the outskirts of Madrid.

While the Spanish government has never given details of how it secured their release, El Pais newspaper said the journalists were kidnapped and held by the Nusra Front.

The journalists, who provided reports to various media outlets, went to Syria to report on the war that started in 2011.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, they were last seen in the neighborhood of Al-Maadi near the city of Aleppo on July 13, 2015.

The Britain-based Observatory said they were riding a small truck which was taken by an armed group to an unknown location.

News of their kidnapping erupted on July 21 of the same year but their families asked the media not to cover their story intensely to preserve their safety.

Three other Spanish journalists were released in March 2014 after being held hostage by Syrian extremists for months.