Turkish photographer freed in Syria returns home

Bunyamin Aygun, a Turkish photographer kidnapped while covering the civil war in neighbouring Syria, poses after he has been freed on January 5, 2014 in Hatay. -- PHOTO: AFP
Bunyamin Aygun, a Turkish photographer kidnapped while covering the civil war in neighbouring Syria, poses after he has been freed on January 5, 2014 in Hatay. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (AFP) - A Turkish photographer kidnapped while covering the civil war in neighbouring Syria has returned home after being freed from weeks in captivity, his newspaper said on Monday.

Bunyamin Aygun, who works for the newspaper Milliyet, was taken hostage by radical Islamists in mid-December during a reporting mission in the war-torn country.

He was freed on Sunday and entered Turkish territory accompanied by eight members of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Milliyet said.

"Every night, I had the same dream that I was being freed. I cannot believe that I am free now. It feels like a dream," he was quoted by the daily as saying.

Rights groups describe Syria as the world's most dangerous country from which to report.

Twenty-five journalists have been killed since the start of the conflict in March 2011, according to Reporters Without Borders, while more than 30 journalists are estimated to have been abducted or detained.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is believed to be holding several foreign journalists, as well as scores of Syrian activists.

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