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French Journalists Held Captive in Syria Are Back Home in France

Four French journalists were held captive for 10 months in Syria by radical Islamist groups. They were released Saturday.

by Leezel Tanglao
Apr 20 2014, 6:27pm

Photo by Reuters

Four French journalists who were held captive for 10 months in Syria by radical Islamist groups are back in their home country.

The families of Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin, and Pierre Torres, along with French President Francois Hollande greeted the group as they arrived at the Villacoublay military base outside Paris.

Hollande said it was a “joyous day for France.”

Francois, a veteran war correspondent for Europe 1 radio, and Elias, a photographer, were kidnapped in early June while they were on their way to Aleppo, according to French media reports.

Later that month, abductors took Henin, a reporter for Le Point magazine, and Torres, a reporter for French-German television channel Arte. They were freed Saturday and picked up from the Turkish border.

“All four of us crossed the border with our hands in our pockets, we were not wearing any blindfold,” Hénin told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview.

Syria's rebel press is fighting back against jihadists. Read more here.

Upon hearing of the group's release, Hollande said in a news release Saturday he is committed to freedom of the press, and that he remains concerned about the fate of two other French nationals still being held in the Sahel region of North Africa. He reaffirmed his support to their families and the efforts to secure their release.