Two Spanish journalists released after 6 months in Syria

Madrid, March 30: Two Spanish journalists who were held hostage for more than six months by radical Islamist rebels in Syria have been released.

“I am Espinosa. Write down the number and call me back, I can’t speak much,” Xinhua Sunday quoted Javier Espinosa, the Middle East correspondent of El Mundo newspaper, as telling his newsroom over phone at 9:27 p.m. Saturday.

Espinosa, who has been working with the newspaper since 2002, and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, a freelance photographer, were captured Sep 16 by Islamist extremists at a checkpoint on the border with Turkey when they were attempting to leave Syria after covering the conflict for two weeks.

Espinosa also informed his newsroom over phone that he and Vilanova have been handed over to Turkish soldiers.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed their release but gave no further details.