The 46 Indian nurses, who were moved out of their Tikrit hospital hideout by militants on Thursday, are likely to be released soon, with a message by one of the nurses bringing hope of their safe return.
Relatives of one of the nurses said they had received an SMS that the group was on their way to Erbil airport and is likely to fly back to India tonight itself.
"We got an SMS saying they (the nurses) are on their way to Erbil airport, which is 70kms away from Mosul. If everything goes well, they will be back in the country by late tonight," one of the relatives told Hindustan Times.
Humanitarian organisation International Red Cross was quoted by news channels saying that the nurses have been freed by the ISIS militants after being shifted from Tikrit to Mosul.
According to news channels, the nurses will be staying in Erbil today and could return to India by Saturday morning. Kerala Chief Minister who has been constantly coordinating with the Ministry of External Affairs on the safe return of the nurses told the media that the nurses have been taken to the Erbil airport to fly them out of the country.
Relatives have been receiving communication from the nurses trapped in the conflict zone of the violent-ravaged country. A nurse contacted her family after they reached Mosul.
"My daughter called me last night saying they reached Mosul around 11pm (Indian time). They are in an old building that is without electricity. So far, the abductors were friendly towards them," Shobha Sasikumar, mother of abducted nurse Shruti, told HT.
The nurses, all said to be from Kerala, had spent weeks in a hospital in Tikrit as the militant outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ran over several towns in Iraq. On Thursday, they were reported to have been forcibly taken by the Sunni militants to Mosul, where 39 other Indians also remain captive.
While there were fears about the lives of the nurses being in danger in Mosul, the SMS has brought hope to the Indian government, which has been making efforts to ensure large-scale evacuation of Indians from the Middle East country.
The news of the nurses' alleged abduction shocked relatives and the entire country, which has been praying for the release of its 85 nationals held captive by militants in Iraq.
The events have taken a toll on several relatives. Edwijammal, mother of Lesima Jerose Monisha, an abducted nurse, was dehydrated as she had been weeping for the past 15 days, New Indian Express reported.