Oriano Cantari (right) and Domenico Tedeschi arrive at Rome's Ciampino military airport after being released fromSyria
Italian technicians Oriano Cantari (right) and Domenico Tedeschi arrive at Rome's Ciampino military airport after being released from captivity in Syria. Two Italian technicians who had been working as subcontractors in Syria when they went missing for a week in unclear circumstances have returned to Italy. © Andreas Solaro - AFP
Oriano Cantari (right) and Domenico Tedeschi arrive at Rome's Ciampino military airport after being released fromSyria
AFP
Last updated: July 29, 2012

Italians held in Syria return home

Two Italian technicians who had been working as subcontractors in Syria when they went missing for a week in unclear circumstances returned to Italy on Sunday.

Oriano Cantari and Domenico Tedeschi, who had been working in Syria for Italian energy group Ansaldo, landed in the military zone of Rome's Ciampino airport at around 2:30pm (1230 GMT).

They had been released from captivity late on Friday.

"They appeared exhausted but certaintly happy and relieved to be back in Italy," an AFP photographer said.

Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi had expressed "great relief" at their return, "considering the serious risks to their safety in a country ravaged by the unacceptable violence of which many innocent civilians are victims."

It is not yet clear who kidnapped Cantari, 64, and Tedeschi, 36. A group of relatives including Cantari's wife and son were at the airport to welcome them.

The SANA news agency in Syria reported Friday that the men were seized by an armed terrorist group and freed by Syrian troops in the province of Damascus.

Terzi thanked Italy's crisis unit for their help in securing the return of the technicians and the ministry warned Italians against travelling to Syria.

On Friday, Terzi had welcomed the news of the pair's release but had remained cautious about their expected return to Italy, describing preparations to repatriate them as a "very delicate stage of the affair."

Cantari had told Italian news agency AGI by phone from Damascus that he and Tedeschi were well, but that the experience had been "pretty tough."

"Who kidnapped us? We, too, would like an answer to that," he said.

"It's difficult to say because the situation was very confused, and those who took us had their faces covered."

Italy expelled the Syrian ambassador to Rome in May in a coordinated action with other Western governments to protest against a massacre of civilians in the central town of Houla.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Stay Connected
twitter icon Twitter 8,365 linkedin icon LinkedIn 321
facebook icon Facebook 61,929 google+ icon Google+ 243