Thirty-two Turkish lorry drivers held in Iraq by Islamist militants for nearly a month have been released.
There’s no news of 49 other Turks – including soldiers, diplomats and children – who were seized in Mosul by ISIL – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, a day after the drivers were seized.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the truck drivers were handed over to Turkish officials.
He said a Turkish Airlines plane had taken off from Istanbul for the Iraqi Kurdistan capital Arbil and would bring the drivers to Ankara on Thursday evening.
“We will continue to work extensively on the release of our citizens who were left behind,” he said, adding that the drivers were in good health.
They were abducted on June 10 as they delivered diesel and were initially held at a power plant.
Turkey has close trade and political relations with the Kurdish-controlled area located to the east of Mosul and which has not been targeted by ISIL.
It’s not clear whether any demands were made for the release of any of the hostages.
Some drivers shouted “long live Turkey” and praised the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But his government has been accused of failing to foresee the danger and evacuate the Mosul consulate sooner.
Turkey now faces a widening Islamist insurgency in two of its southern neighbours, Iraq and Syria.