Special envoy for La Stampa Domenico Quirico returned to Rome on the evening of September 8, after five months being held captive by a group of Islamist rebels in Syria, reports the Turin daily.

Quirico, aged 62, who had already been briefly held hostage in Libya in 2011, disappeared in Homs on April 9 at the same time as Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin da Prata, and nothing was heard from them until their release.

According to Reporters Without Borders, 13 foreign journalists have either disappeared or are being held in captivity in Syria.