Italian hostage kidnapped in Syria 3 years ago is freed

Sergio Zanotti, an Italian businessman who was kidnapped in Syria three years ago, has been released.

The office of Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Friday that Zanotti is "in good general condition and will be repatriated to Rome in a few hours."

According to media reports, Zanotti, a businessman from the Italian northern city of Brescia, had been kidnapped in Syria in April 2016 by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda. The prime minister's statement said "at the end of a complex and delicate activity of intelligence, investigation and diplomacy ... today we succeeded in obtaining the release of Sergio Zanotti."

Seven months after his kidnapping, Zanotti appeared in a video asking the Italian government to intervene to make sure he was not slain.