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French journalists arrive home after Syria hostage ordeal

(AFP)
Filed on April 20, 2014
French journalists arrive home after Syria hostage ordeal

Hollande said on Saturday the four men were “in good health despite the very challenging conditions of their captivity”.


French journalists arrive home after Syria hostage ordeal (/assets/oldimages/france_20042014.jpg)French President Francois Hollande (2L) and French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius (2R) welcome French journalists Edouard Elias (L) and Didier Francois (R) taken hostage in Syria last year and freed yesterday, at the Villacoublay air base southwest of Paris on April 20, 2014. AFP

Four French journalists held hostage in Syria for nearly a year arrived in France on Sunday after they were found abandoned in no-man’s land on the Turkish border.

A plane carrying Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres touched down at a military base in northern France early Sunday, the president’s office said.

They will be taken by helicopter to the Villacoublay air base southwest of Paris, where they will be met by President Francois Hollande and their families and colleagues.

They will then be taken to a military hospital for medical checks, said a spokesman for the president.

Hollande said on Saturday the four men were “in good health despite the very challenging conditions of their captivity”.

Turkish soldiers found them overnight Friday to Saturday in no-man’s land on the border with Syria, wearing blindfolds and with their hands bound.

They had been captured in two separate incidents in June last year while covering the conflict in Syria.

Francois, 53, a highly respected and experienced war reporter for Europe 1 radio, and photographer Elias, 23, were taken north of the main northern Syrian city of Aleppo on June 6.

Henin, a 37-year-old reporter for Le Point magazine, and freelance photographer Torres, 29, were seized two weeks later also in the north of the country, at Raqqa.

Around 30 foreign journalists covering the Syrian civil war have been seized since the conflict began in March 2011, and many are still missing.





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