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Photograph: Photo by Philip Taylor, used under CC BY-SA

More than 11 million dollars were paid to obtain the recent release of three Spanish journalists held by al-Qaeda in Syria, a report by a Turkish pro-government newspaper said on Monday.

The report - released by Yeni Safak daily, and reproduced on the Turkish government's website - said some 3.7 million dollars were paid for each journalist. Additional funds went to displaced peoples' camps inside Syria.

It added that Turkey and Qatar were asked by the government of Spain to help with the negotiations but that Turkey did not communicate directly with al-Qaeda's Syria wing, known as the al-Nusra Front.

Madrid thanked both countries for their help in the negotiations after the three - Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastr - arrived back in Spain earlier this month.

The journalists went missing in rebel-held Aleppo in July 2015 after entering Syria from Turkey, a staunch backer of the Syrian opposition fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

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