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Europe

Two Italian aid worker hostages in Syria released

media The two Italian aid workers arrive at Ciampino airport flanked by Italy's … Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Two Italian aid workers taken hostage in Syria five months ago have been released and arrived in Rome over Thursday night.

The two young women, Vanessa Marzullo aged 21 and Greta Ramelli aged 20, have been flown to Turkey on Thursday and landed at Ciampino military airport in Rome at 4:00am Friday morning. 

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The two women were welcomed by Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and taken to hospital for a checkup.

The two have been held in captivity for five months. 

In August the Italian foreign ministry said the pair were taken hostage while seeking to provide healthcare assistance in the embattled northern city of Aleppo.

Two weeks ago their captors released a threatening video online demanding that the government intervene to bring them home.

The video said they were being detained by al Qaeda's Syria wing, the Al-Nusra Front.

Speaking in English in the video, one of the girls said they were in serious danger and could be killed.

Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State (IS) armed group have held Westerners hostage in Syria with several several male hostages beheaded by IS in 2014.

Rome's anti-terrorist prosecution office has opened an investigation into their abduction.

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