BEIRUT/ROME, July 28 (Reuters) - Syrian forces freed two
Italians workers from a group of rebels who kidnapped them
earlier this month, Syrian state media said on Saturday.
Italy's foreign minister described the news of the release
as a positive development.
"Our forces have managed to release two Italians who were
kidnapped by terrorists in the Damascus countryside," state
television said on Saturday.
The Italians, employees of a subcontractor for energy
technology group Ansaldo Energia, were detained by armed men on
July 17 as they drove to the airport to fly out of the country,
according to Italian media.
"The release of our two nationals by the groups that held
them in the last few days is a very positive development,"
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in a statement.
"We continue to follow developments through all available
channels, to arrive at a swift conclusion," he said without
offering any other details.
A report in Italian daily Secolo XIX had said last Saturday
that the men were travelling in a convoy of 20 staff who worked
for Ansaldo when they were captured.
The two men had become separated from the group when it was
stopped and ended up in the hands of a rebel group, the
newspaper said, citing a colleague of the men who managed to
leave Damascus. The others made it home safely.
(Reporting By Mariam Karouny in Beirut and Catherine Hornby in
Rome; Editing by Angus MacSwan)