May 22, 2019 / 4:25 PM / a month ago

Italian man set free after almost three years captivity in Syria

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian man held hostage in Syria for almost three years has been freed, the Italian prime minister’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said Italian intelligence, police and the foreign ministry had worked together to secure the release of Alessandro Sandrini — a 32-year-old from the northern city of Brescia.

Sandrini flew to Turkey in October 2016 for a holiday but soon disappeared. A year later, he called his family, telling them he had been seized off a street in Adana, southern Turkey.

His captors released two subsequent videos, including one posted on the Internet last July, showing him dressed in an orange jumpsuit, with two men standing behind him holding guns.

“They say they are fed up with me and that I will be killed if everything is not solved quickly,” Sandrini said, asking Italy to reach a deal with his kidnappers.

Sandrini is the second Italian hostage in Syria to be released in the last two months. The first was businessman Sergio Zanotti, who was also from Brescia and was seized in April 2016.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Catherine Evans and Crispian Balmer

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