The hostages were captured from the Turkish Consulate in Mosul on 11 June, when ISIL overran the city in its surge to seize large swaths of Iraq and Syria.
The circumstances surrounding the release of hostages were not entirely clear. The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the intelligence agency’s operation was not a special forces-type operation, but the hostages were freed through the agency’s “own methods.” Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency, reported no ransom had been paid. (AP, 20 September)
The hostages were handed to Turkish officials in early hours of Saturday, and were flown to Ankara’s airport. The families of the freed hostages waiting at the airport for their arrival, broke through security lines and rushed toward the plane to greet their loved ones.
Turkish Consul General in Mosul, Ozturk Yilmaz, was among the freed hostages and thanked official involved in his release, adding he had not seen his family for 102 days, and all he wanted was to go home with them.
Photo Credit: Turkey's Consul-General in Mosul Yılmaz Öztürk (L) waves hand to a crowd as Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his wife, Sare, greet other freed hostages. (Mustafa Kirazlı/ Today's Zaman)