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ISIS Releases 49 Hostages

The 46 Turks and three Iraqis were captured in Mosul, Iraq, during an ISIS attack on the Turkish Consulate back in June. The Turkish government denies they paid a ransom or agreed to any demands from ISIS.

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All but three of the prisoners were Turkish and returned to Turkey on Saturday. The captives were escorted by Turkish intelligence agents from Syria to the Esenboga airport in Ankara.


Yilmaz reportedly risked his life by refusing to record a prepared statement as ISIS held a gun to his head. “There were times we faced death, but we supported each other,” said hostage Alptekin Esirgun.

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan says his government will not reveal details about the covert mission, but officials deny they paid ransom or agreed to any conditions from ISIS. It was ISIS themselves, however, who handed over the hostages.

"What kind of bargaining was made with (ISIS), what was promised in return for our citizens' freedom remains a mystery," said oppostition leader Devlet Bahceli. "What went on behind the scenes during the negotiations certainly won't remain a secret."

Gavon Laessig is a deputy news director and front page editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Gavon Laessig at

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