TWO Spanish journalists who were held in hostage in Syria for six months have been freed and allowed to return home.

Overjoyed friends and family met the two journalists at Torrejon de Ardoz airbase in Madrid, after they were freed and handed over to Turkish military.

El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa, 49, and freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, 42, were captured while trying to leave Syria after a two week reporting mission.

The pair were seized near the Turkish border by a militant group linked to al-Qaeda, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), in September.

The capture was kept quiet at the time with the hope of aiding negotiations.

Four members of the Free Syrian Army, the main Western-backed rebel group, who were protecting the journalists were also captured but later released.

The group Reporters Without Borders has called Syria the most dangerous country in the world for journalists.

Currently 17 foreign journalists and more than 20 Syrian news providers are being held hostage by rebel groups, or are missing.

A further 40 Syrian professional and citizen journalists are being held by the government.

Imogen Calderwood

About Imogen Calderwood

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