49 Turkish hostages set free

Turkey’s national intelligence agency (MİT) has conducted a successful operation to release the 49 Turkish hostages held by extremist militants in Iraq for 101 days Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced yesterday, Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ reports.

Öztürk Yılmaz, Turkey’s consul general in Mosul, and 48 others who were taken from the consulate were brought to Turkey at 5 am local time, with officials stressing that they were all in good health.

“Our consul general in Mosul, his family and Turkish citizens at the consulate who had been abducted have been freed in a successful operation,” Erdoğan said in a written statement early on 20th September:

“I thank the prime minister and his colleagues for this carefully planned, detailed and secret operation, which continued all night and was successfully completed early in the morning,” the statement added.

Turkey’s consul general and other staff in Mosul had been held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since 11th June.

“Our National Intelligence Agency (MİT) has followed the issue with patience and dedication, and finally performed a successful rescue operation,” the statement added.

The operation was not a military one and there were no clashes with ISIL militants. It was based instead on negotiations with local authorities in Iraq that bore fruit late on 19th September.

No other country’s intelligence organisation was involved and no ransom money was paid, sources say.

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