Italian journalist held in Syria released

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Italian journalist Domenico Quirico and Belgian national Pierre Piccinin, both kidnapped in Syria in early April, have been released and are on a plane flying to Italy, the Italian government said Sunday

The website of Turin-based daily newspaper La Stampa, for which Quirico is a correspondent, also said he was in a plane on his way back home.

The government said Piccinin was released with Quirico and was with him in the same plane bound for Rome's Ciampino airport.

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta told La Stampa's editor Mario Calabresi: “Our hope was never extinguished and all the efforts put in place for a positive outcome were crowned with success.”

Quirico, 62, is a well-known war correspondent in Italy. The government gave no immediate information about Piccinin, who is reported to be a teacher.

Married with two children, Quirico was able to contact his family after his release.

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