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KEMEROVO, February 10 (Itar-Tass) - Viktor Gorelov, a metallurgist from the Kuzbass region, has reunited with his family in Novokuznetsk after 54 days spent in Syrian captivity, the press service of the Novosibirsk city administration told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
Gorelov’s family, including his wife Nadezhda, daughter Tatyana and 11-year-old grandson Misha, met his at the airport. They hadn’t seen Gorelov since last fall when he went on a business trip to Syria. Gorelov and his wife thanked the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian embassy in Syria and Governor Aman Tuleyev for help and support.
Gorelov’s friends and colleagues with whom he used to work at a metallurgical plant also came to meet him at the airport.
Governor Aman Tuleyev ordered to award Gorelov with the regional medal “For Honor and Courage”.
Viktor Gorelov went to work in Syria on contract from a Yekaterinburg-based firm on October 6 last year. That was not his first trip abroad. He had already been to India and China by that time. He hoped to earn some money at a steelmaking plant in Syria to be able to help his son with housing and enable his daughter to collect money for a car.
On December 12, representatives of the Syrian armed opposition abducted Viktor Gorelov, his Syrian interpreter who held a Russian passport and Italian Mario Belluomo. The kidnappers didn’t know what to do with the hostages. That’s why they took them from place to place.
“We didn’t stay in one place for two or three days. We had two meals a day: tea, coffee, griddle cakes and canned food. We were given warm clothes and blankets for the night so that we wouldn’t freeze. However, there were some unpleasant moments when we had a feeling that we were living our last days and hours,” Gorelov said, adding that they were often guarded by 14-year-old youngsters who were extremely excited and waved weapons.
The hostages were released on February 3 in exchange for militants captured by the Syrian army. Gorelov couldn’t leave Syria immediately because of problems with documents. He returned to Russia by plane from Beirut on February 9. Gorelov left Moscow for his native city of Novokuznetsk early on Sunday.
Viktor Gorelov worked at the West Siberian Metallurgical Plant for more than 40 years.
The Kemerovo regional authorities and the EVRAZ group that owns the plant will give
Gorelov all the necessary assistance.