The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has released one of two Kurdish journalists captured late last year, an official with Iraq’s Kurdish television station Rudaw says.
Freelance reporter Massoud Aqeel’s release in a prisoner exchange with Kurdish forces was announced by Rudaw on Wednesday. His colleague Farhad Hamo’s fate is still unknown.
The pair were on assignment for Rudaw in northeastern Syria when they were seized on December 15.
“He (Aqeel) spent the night in Tell Kocher under the protection of Kurdish fighters and he is now back in Qamishli,” a Rudaw spokesperson said, according to the AFP news agency.
Reporters Without Borders says at least 30 journalists and online information providers are detained by the regime and at least 28 others are either missing or held hostage by armed groups, including ISIL.
ISIL has murdered a number of journalists in the territory it controls in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.
In October 2014 the group killed Iraq journalists Mohammad al-Aqidi, and Raad al-Azzawi in separate incidents.
Earlier the group beheaded two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who it had held hostage since before its June 2014 offensive that saw large parts of Syria and Iraq fall to the group.
In Libya the group’s local affiliate has targted both local journalists and foreign reporters, including two Tunisians fighters from the group murdered in January.