10:49 GMT +314 October 2019
Listen Live
    Greta Ramelli (L) and Vanessa Marzullo, two Italian aid workers taken hostage in Syria five months ago, arrive at Ciampino airport in Rome January 16, 2015

    Two Italian Aid Workers Liberated in Syria

    © REUTERS / Alessandro Bianchi
    Get short URL
    0 54

    Two Italian aid workers have been freed after more than five months in captivity in Syria at the hands of al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

    MOSCOW, January 16 (Sputnik) — 20-year-old Greta Ramelli and 21-year-old Vanessa Marzullo arrived at Rome's Ciampino Airport on Friday, before being rushed to hospital for a check-up, the news agency AFP reports.

    Later on, they are due to see Rome’s anti-terrorist prosecution office, which has already opened an investigation into their abduction.

    "I’m feeling such enormous joy: this is the news I have been waiting for a long time. I am so, so happy," Salvatore Marzullo, Vanessa's father, said.

    Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, for his part, welcomed the news "with great joy and a huge sigh of relief."

    The Italian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that their release was the result of "intense work by team Italy," but officials have so far declined to elaborate on the circumstances behind the release of Ramelli and Marzullo.

    The women, from Lombardy in northern Italy, had been working for the aid group Horryaty when they were abducted in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on July 31, 2014.

    In a video released on December 31, 2014, the women, who had been dressed in black robes and headscarves, called on the Italian government to do its best to free them.

    "We are in big danger and we could be killed. The government and its militaries are responsible for our lives," one of the women said.

    The group responsible for taking the women captive was the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's branch in Syria.


    US to Send 400 Trainers, Hundreds Support Staff to Aid Syrian Opposition
    Former Ambassador Says Paris Attacks to Change Opinions of Syria Opposition
    Russian Embassy in Syria Examining Execution Video of 'Undercover Agents'
    Islamic State Beheads, Crucifies Five in Deir Ezzor Province of Syria
    human rights, hostage, al-Qaeda, Aleppo, Italy, Syria
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik