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German hostage escapes from Syria

A German engineer who was abducted in Syria by jihadists has managed to free himself and escape to Turkey. He had been kidnapped in May with two other aid workers.

72-year old German national Ziad Nouri reportedly managed to break open a door and escape while his captors were asleep.

On foot he reached the small town of Darkush on the Syrian-Turkish border and was helped to cross into southern Turkey on Tuesday, according to Rupert Neudeck, the founder of the German aid organization "Green Helmets" (Grünhelme).

"The nightmare is over now," said Neudeck after he had spoken to Nouri on the phone.

The Syrian-born engineer and two NGO colleagues had been working on building a hospital when they were abducted on May 15 in the town of Harem in the Idlib district near Syria's border with Turkey.

The kidnappers demanded a ransom of 25 million euros ($33 million); but two of the men, an industrial mechanic and a carpenter, managed to escape in early July and now all three are safe.

On Wednesday a spokesperson for the German foreign ministry expressed relief. "We are happy that this case has ended well," he said.

"Green Helmets" has been involved in Syria since 2012, rebuilding infrastructure that was destroyed during the civil war that has been going on for more than two years.

The humanitarian agency was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit organization working with Christians and Muslims. Its headquarters are near Bonn and it also runs projects in Afghanistan and Iraq.

rg/kms (dpa, AFP, KNA)