The 32-year old Italian citizen Alessandro Sandrini was freed after being held hostage in Syria for more than two years. He appeared at a press conference in the Syrian border town of Bab al-Hawa on Wednesday.
At the press conference, Sandrini explained how he was kidnapped from the Turkish city of Adana, "I lost my way to the hotel, I didn't know which way it was. I wandered through the streets of Adana when all of a sudden I felt that something was put on my face, and I felt drugged. I fell asleep, and I woke up in a room where there were two people who were armed and hooded."
Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) official Ahmed Latouf, who also spoke at the press conference, said that they negotiated with the kidnappers through "informants" until "the hostage was released."
The Italian man had reportedly been held captive by an unnamed "group carrying out kidnappings," according to HTS.
Sandrini, a Brescia native, disappeared in October 2016 while on a holiday in the southern Turkish city of Adana, near the border with Syria. Last August, he appeared in a video pleading for help, flanked by two masked gunmen. The video did not identify which group was holding the Italian man.
Upon his return to Italy, Sandrini is reportedly expected to be confined to his home due to his implication in two criminal cases, including handling stolen goods and burglary, which he allegedly carried out in 2016 before his trip to Turkey.
Sandrini is the second Italian national to be freed in Syria this year, following the release of businessman Sergio Zanotti in April.