The Islamic State has released 49 Turkish prisoners who were taken hostage after the terrorist group stormed the Turkish consulate in Iraq in June.
The hostages were flown home by the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on his personal plane. Several children were reportedly among them. He described the release of his countrymen and women as ‘joyful news’.
The hostages were seized after Isis overran Mosul, a city in northern Iraq, and arrested all non-Iraqi citizens.
Turkey has refused to use any military action against Isis due to fears that the hostages may have been harmed.
Few details were given on how the Turkish government secured their release, however they did confirm that no ransom was paid.
“I think it’s fair to say that we haven’t been told the full story,” said Aaron Stein, an associate fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute who has studied Turkey’s security policy.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the release was the result of the intelligence agency’s “own methods,” and not a special forces operations, but he didn’t elaborate. “After intense efforts that lasted days and weeks, in the early hours, our citizens were handed over to us and we brought them back to our country,” Davutoglu said.