A 44 year old journalist of Japanese origin – Jumpei Yasuda who was held hostage by Islamist militants after being captured in Syria three years ago has been released and would be brought home as soon as possible, Japan’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
The journalists release was confirmed by diplomats in Turkey. He was reported to have been captured by an al Qaeda affiliate after entering Syria from Turkey in 2015.
Yasuda gave thanks for his freedom in a video released by Turkish officials.
“My name is , Japanese journalist. I have been held in Syria for 40 months, now in Turkey. Now I’m in safe condition. Thank you very much,” a bearded Yasuda said.
It was not the first time Yasuda had been detained in the Middle East.
He was held in Baghdad in 2004 and drew criticism at home for drawing the government into negotiations for his release.