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Three kidnapped Spanish journalists freed in Syria

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre have arrived back in Madrid after 10 months in captivity. The three went missing while working in the northern city of Aleppo.

The Spanish government confirmed the journalists' release on Saturday, adding that acting deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria had made contact and spoken with the trio. "All three are well," a government spokeswoman added.

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre entered Syrian from Turkey on July 10 and went missing shortly afterwards. Few details have since emerged about their situation.

They were

last seen in July 2015 in Aleppo

where they had been reporting on the conflict. Several other journalists have gone missing from the same area.

Respected reporters

Pampliega, who is 33, has contributed to Agence France-Presse's (AFP) coverage of the civil wars in Syria and Iraq.

Forty-five-year-old Lopez is a prize-winning photographer who filed images to AFP from several war zones, including Syria.

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

Spanish newspaper "El Pais" reported that the men were now in Turkey and waiting to be brought back to Spain by authorities.

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

In August 2014, the "Islamic State" (IS) group decapitated US journalist James Foley, who was seized in northern Syria two years earlier. In 2013, three other Spanish journalists were seized by IS militants, but were all released.

mm/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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