MOSCOW, October 14./TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed gratitude to those who provided assistance in freeing Russian national Konstantin Zhuravlev kidnapped in Syria.
"As a result of long targeted work through different channels, Russian national Konstantin Zhuravlev, born in 1981, was set free after being kidnapped in Syria in 2013," the Foreign Ministry said. On October 14, he met with the relatives," it said.
"We are grateful to all who contributed to freeing Konstantin Zhuravlev. The Foreign Ministry of Russia continues giving priority attention to protection of legitimate rights and interests of Russian national abroad," it said.
A Russian national, Konstantin Zhuravlev, "was kidnapped in the north of Syria by an armed group in October 2013, as he was travelling the world, and was held there by force for three years," the public relations center of the Federal Security Service said earlier on Friday.
Zhuravlev was turned over to his relatives after the Federal Security Service completed all the necessary procedures.
TASS earlier reported that Zhuravlev went missing in Syria near the city of Aleppo as he was hitchhiking from Turkey to the Sahara across Syria, where he planned to spend several weeks as part of his project called "Alone with the Desert." Gunmen from the Islamist group, Liwa al-Tawhid, accused him of spying for the government in Damascus.
An officer of the Syrian security service earlier told TASS that Zhuravlev had crossed into Syria without official reasons, which is a crime punishable by imprisonment. In this case, the Syrian government couldn’t bear any responsibility for the Russian national, he said. However, the official authorities in Damascus then pledged to make every effort to free the Russian national.