Two Spanish journalists finally reunited with their families during an emotional homecoming today after spending six months in captivity in Syria.
Javier Espinosa, a war correspondent for The El Mundo newspaper, and photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova arrived in Madrid today. The pair arrived less than 24 hours after they called from Turkey to say they were out of captivity and safe.
The two men were abducted by the extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq at a Syrian checkpoint in September as they were trying to leave the country, according to The Associated Press.
Espinosa and Garcia Vilanova arrived today by a government executive jet and were immediately greeted by relatives. Espinosa was seen reaching out for his young son Yerai as he ran across the tarmac.
His partner Monica Garcia Prieto, tweeted "Pure Happiness" after news of his release.
Felicidad pura.— Monica García Prieto (@monicagprieto) March 30, 2014
The details of how the journalists were released from captivity were not immediately given out. At a press conference at El Mundo newsroom, Espinosa and Garcia Vilanova said they could not give details about their captivity or how they were freed because the matter was "out of our hands," according to the AP.
A spokeswoman for the Spanish Foreign Ministry told the AP that "maximum discretion" is used when journalists are kidnapped. She did not comment on whether a ransom was negotiated.
Syria has been a dangerous country for journalists since war broke out in 2011. According to the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ), in 2013 there were 29 journalists who were killed in the country. The CPJ also warned that there have been rampant abductions of reporters.