Two Italian aid workers abducted in Syria last summer have been released, the Italian government said Thursday, according to AFP.
"Greta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo are free, they will return to Italy soon," the government said in a tweet from its official account.
Officials did not immediately release any further details of how the two young women had come to be freed by or from their unknown abductors. The foreign ministry said it was the result of "intense work by team Italy."
Ramelli, 20 and Marzullo, 21, have been held since being captured by gunmen in Aleppo province while working for the aid group Horryaty, which specializes in health and clean water projects.
They were last heard of on December 31 when a video was posted online showing them dressed in black robes and headscarves and urging the Italian government to do everything it could to bring them home.
The posting on YouTube was entitled "Al-Nusra Front detains two Italian employees because of their government's participation in the coalition against it."
But the video was not posted on any official accounts belonging to Al-Nusra, which is Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate.
Italy's foreign ministry has given little away about who it thought was holding the women but had denied reports they were prisoners of the Islamic State (ISIS) group which, like Al-Nusra, is known to have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war.
The liberation of the two women leaves two Italians unaccounted for in conflict zones overseas, noted AFP.
Jesuit priest Paolo Dall'Oglio was kidnapped in Syria in July 2013 and aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto disappeared in the tribal zones between Pakistan and Afghanistan in January 2012. Both men are feared dead.
Italy last year secured the release of two construction workers held in Libya and the country has a track record of paying ransoms to gets its citizens home safely.