Journalist, writer released by abductors in Syria

London, Sep 9 (IANS) Italian journalist Domenico Quirico and Belgian writer Pierre Piccinin da Prata, who were kidnapped in Syria, have been freed, officials said.

The two men, abducted in April this year while working in Syria, were flown to Rome Sunday, the Daily Mail reported.

Quirico, a correspondent for Turin-based La Stampa daily, who has earlier reported on conflicts in Sudan, Uganda and Libya and on the Arab spring uprising, entered Syria April 6 but disappeared four days later.

"We never lost hope and all the efforts made over the past months have been crowned with success," the Daily Mail quoted Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta as saying in a statement.

Quirico was embraced by Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino at a military airport in Rome.

Quirico told reporters at Rome's Ciampino airport that he felt as if "he had been living on Mars" for the last five months, the report said.

"I was treated badly," Quirico said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for kidnapping the two men, who were reportedly travelling together when they were abducted, the report said.

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, in a message on Twitter, said he shared the emotion and relief of the men's families, reported Daily Mail.

Four other Italian journalists were kidnapped in Syria in April this year but were released after a week.


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