DAMASCUS, (SANA)- The armed forces freed in a "qualitative operation" the team of the Syrian al-Ikhbariya satellite channel who were kidnapped by an armed terrorist group seven days ago in al-Tal area in Damascus Countryside.
The released colleagues are Yara Saleh, Abdullah Tabreh and Hussam Imad.
A number of journalists and workers at the Syrian channels gathered early Thursday to receive the freed journalists, stressing that the Syrian media will remain stronger than terrorism and the terrorists and the word of right will always be high.
Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi was among the first to congratulate the released journalists over their safety.
"The Syrian media is targeted in the war on Syria because it is the beacon of truth which the enemies want to obliterate," said the freed journalist Yara Saleh in a statement to the Syrian TV.
She wished that the team was released with all its members, expressing condolences over the martyrdom of her and al-Ikhbariya TV cadres' colleague Hatem Abu Yehya, whom she said was "hideously snatched by the armed groups' terrorism and criminality."
In a statement to SANA, the freed journalist Yara Saleh described her happiness when she saw men in army uniforms heading to her and knew that they are members from the Syrian army.
Saleh talked about the inhuman practices and verbal assault of the armed terrorists groups against her and her colleagues, not to mention beating them and executing the cameraman Hatem Abu Yehya in such criminal and brutal way.
She added that they were force to make false statement on the air that the cameraman Abu Yehya was killed in an operation by the Syrian army.
Journalist Saleh said that "their killing and kidnapping acts will not terrify us, rather they will enhance our strength," expressing gratitude for the Syrian army members who rescued them.
For his part, the photographer Abdullah Tabreh said the party which kidnapped them was marked by a very vicious criminal nature that has nothing to do with the true nature of the Syrians "who are characterized by loyalty to the homeland."
Tabreh expressed relief as he heard the voice of the Syrian army members, greeting the armed forces who sacrifice themselves to protect Syrians and preserve the safety of the homeland.
He said that a small group of the heroic Syrian army defeated 300 terrorists and mercenary gunmen who were transporting us from one place to another.
Tabreh offered deep condolences to the family of the martyr Abu Yehya.
Driver Hussam Imad, who was kidnapped along with his colleagues by armed terrorist groups, described how those groups interrogated and tortured them with sticks and electricity.
He said that "these armed groups kidnapped al-Ikhbariya TV team, stole our car and equipment forcing us to convey a distorted image about the reality and accuse the army forces of what they commit of sabotage and terrorists acts."
"However, thanks to the will and strength of our heroic army, we are freed now from the hands of the criminal gangs," Imad said with pride.
Eng. Toni Kamel Hajal expressed happiness over the safe return of his nephew, the cameraman Tabreh, appreciating the Syrian army's sacrifices to safeguard the homeland.
He stressed that Syria will remain strong thanks to the unity of the Syrian people and the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad.
Hajal called upon those who became tools for killing at the hands of western, Arab and regional countries to return to the right path and reject violence.
Information Ministry: Soul of Martyr Yehya Will Remain a Torch
Information Ministry expressed, on behalf of all the journalists and workers at the Syrian media institutions and on its own behalf, gratitude to the armed forces and the Syrian army for their great efforts and sacrifices exerted to free al-Ikhbariya TV kidnapped team.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Ministry stressed that the soul of the martyr Hatem Abu Yehya, who was among the 4-member team kidnapped and later killed by the terrorist groups, will remain for the Ministry and its cadres "a torch that lights up their roads towards conveying the facts and reality far from falsification and distortion."
The Ministry added that the national media will remain the fortress of right, credibility and transparency and will never be shaken by "the entities of black terrorism", stressing that victory is definitely coming.
Team of UN Observer Mission Meets al-Ikhbariya TV Released Team
A team of the UN Observer mission in Syria on Thursday met al-Ikhbariya TV team which was released by the Syrian Arab Army in a qualitative operation today after being abducted by an armed terrorist group in al-Tal area 7 days ago.
Members of the Ikhbariya team underlined that the Syrian media will remain stronger than terrorism and terrorists, saying that the word of this media will remain high because it relays the Right.
Director of al-Ikhbariya TV Imad Sara said in a statement to the press that the armed groups aim to affect the moral spirit of the citizens and the journalists to combat this national media or preventing it from fulfilling its duties, adding this was clearly shown through targeting the building of al-Ikhbariya TV and later the Syrian TV.
H. Zain/ H. Said/ Mazen