Two Britons and an Irishman have been freed from a Kurdish-controlled prison in northern Iraq after they were detained on their way home from fighting against the Islamic State (Isis). The trio were held for more than a week in the prison after crossing the border from Syria.
Britons Jac Holmes and Joe Akerman and Irish Joshua Molloy (the latter both former soldiers) were arrested on 15 April. The trio had reportedly volunteered for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to fight the IS in Syria. It is believed that demands were made for paying fines of $15,000 (£10,390) to secure their release.
The Foreign Office confirmed their release and told the BBC: "We are helping two British men make arrangements to leave Kurdistan after they were released from custody."
Shortly after their release, Holmes posted on Facebook: "Got out of jail peeps, thanks for the support." Ackerman's post on his Facebook account merely read: "Free".
Holmes's mother is believed to have met with Kurdish officials to secure his release. Describing the period as an anxious time, she told the BBC she was even prepared to "chain myself to the railings" to ensure that the men returned home safe.
Joshua's father Declan Molloy said emotions were running high in the family after they received news of the trio's release. "We are all delighted here. We are jumping with joy to know that he is out," he said. "You know that Christmas morning feeling, it's a bit like that, when you find your most sought-after present under the tree, the dream present. That's how we feel," the Guardian reported him as saying.
The trio, having entered Iraq after crossing the border from Syria, were detained and were reportedly told they were entering the country illegally. The border between Iraq and Syria is a politically delicate zone, given that the two nations have several groups currently in a near-constant clash with one another.