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Originally published February 4, 2013 at 4:14 AM | Page modified February 4, 2013 at 6:51 AM

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2 Russians, Italian abducted in Syria set free

Russia says two Russians and an Italian kidnapped by Syrian rebels have been freed in exchange for captured militants.

The Associated Press

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MOSCOW —

Russia says two Russians and an Italian kidnapped by Syrian rebels have been freed in exchange for captured militants.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Monday that Viktor Gorelov and Abdessattar Hassun are in the Russian Embassy in Damascus and were in good health. It added that Italian Mario Belluomo, abducted together with them on Dec. 12, will be handed over to Italian envoys by Syria's Foreign Ministry.

The Russian Embassy wouldn't say how many captured militants were set free in exchange for the three hostages, or offer any details about their release, which was also reported by state-run Syrian TV.

Russia has been the main ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, shielding him from U.N. sanctions over a civil war that the U.N. says has killed 60,000 people.

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