Spanish journalists freed six months after being kidnapped in Syria

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Two Spanish journalists who were kidnapped in Syria in September have been released and are expected to return to Madrid on Sunday afternoon.

Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova were seized by radical Islamist rebels from ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) near the Turkish border.

The Free Syrian Army – the main Western-backed rebel group – was protecting them at the time. Four of its members were also captured but later freed.

Espinosa and Garcia Vilanova are two among scores of journalists believed to have been kidnapped or killed by rebel fighters in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011.

More than 140,000 people have died in the conflict, while 2.5 million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries and millions more are in need of humanitarian aid.