Sixteen of 18 Turkish workers who were kidnapped from a construction site in Baghdad earlier this month were released Wednesday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Iraqi officials said, according to reports. The workers were abducted from Sadr City in northern Baghdad while they were sleeping in their caravans.
Davutoglu announced the news on his Twitter account and said the workers had been handed over to the Turkish ambassador in Iraq.
Brig. Gen. Saad Maan Ibrahim, spokesman for Baghdad’s military command, confirmed the workers' release, the Associated Press reported. Ibrahim told the AP that the workers were found Wednesday in the town of Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad. It was not immediately clear how the workers were freed.
On Sept. 2, masked men in military uniforms entered the construction site and abducted the workers at Nurol Insaat, a Turkish construction company contracted to build a sports complex in Sadr City. An Iraqi national was also among those kidnapped.
Following the incident, a militant group released a video showing the hostages and demanded Turkey to stop the flow of insurgents into Iraq as well as cease oil passage from Iraq's northern Kurdish region through Turkish territory. The militants also reportedly called on Turkey to lift what they described a "siege" on Syrian cities. It is not clear which group abducted the men.
Turkey recently launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group in northern Iraq. Last month, it was reported that at least 260 members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party have been killed during Turkey’s campaign against the Sunni militant group within the country and in northern Iraq.