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Syria has released two Americans, U.S. says

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Syria has released two Americans it had detained and they appear to be in good condition, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

The Syrian foreign ministry said earlier that authorities were questioning Holli Chmela, 27, and Taylor Luck, 23, for entering the country illegally.

The two were released into the custody of U.S. charge d’affaires Maura Connelly in Damascus after she was summoned to the Syrian foreign ministry, said State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid.

“They are now in the U.S. embassy in Damascus and are reportedly in good shape,” Duguid said.

The Syrian foreign ministry said the pair had worked for the Jordan Times newspaper based in Amman and had entered Syria illegally through the northern border.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut said on Wednesday there had been no word from the Americans since October 1 when they left Beirut for the northern city of Tripoli. They were then to cross by land to Syria before returning to Jordan.

Lebanese media have speculated that they may have fallen victim to kidnappers in the north, where Syria has warned of growing Islamist militancy and the Lebanese army has been the target of two bomb attacks in the last two months.