Video: Families welcome journalists home after 10-month Syria hostage ordeal

Three Spanish journalists who were held captive in Syria for nearly 10 months have returned safely to Madrid after being freed.

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre were flown back from Turkey to Torrejon de Ardoz air base on Madrid's north-eastern outskirts aboard a Defence Ministry aircraft, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's office said.

The three men descended from a Spanish Air Force Falcon 900 executive jet wearing warm jackets in pouring rain with broad smiles on their faces, images from state broadcaster TVE showed.

They were greeted under umbrellas by what appeared to be delighted family members and friends.

A group of reporters who had gathered outside the airfield's gates were not allowed access into the base but saw the journalists leave in a dark blue van.

The three journalists went missing on July 12, near the city of Aleppo in northern Syria.

At the time, the region was under the control of al Qaida's branch in Syria known as the Nusra Front.

The intervention of Turkey, Qatar and "other allies and friends" was instrumental in freeing the men, the Spanish government said on Saturday.

The journalists had travelled to Syria to report on the war there when they disappeared.

They were experienced freelance journalists who had all worked in Syria before and knew what type of precautions they would need to take, according to Elsa Gonzalez, president of Spain's federation of journalists.

Previously, three other Spanish journalists were released in March 2014 after being held hostage by Syrian extremists for months.

It is widely believed that their government paid a ransom for their release, although it has not been officially confirmed.

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