UK & World News

  • 20 April 2014, 17:58

French Journalists Held In Syria Return Home

Four journalists have returned home to France after being held for 10 months by Islamic extremists in Syria.

Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres, who were covering the conflict in the Middle East country, were released on Saturday on the border with Turkey.

Mr Francois, a war reporter for Europe 1, said: "It's such a delight and a relief to be free, to see the sky... to breathe the fresh air, to walk, to talk to you."

Mr Henin said he was "not always" treated well and said he was held in "about 10 places of captivity, prisons, mostly with other people".

President Francois Hollande said their return was a "moment of joy" for France.

He said: "This is a day of great joy for them as you can imagine, for their families... but it is a day of great joy for France."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted "France does not pay ransom" and no weapons were exchanged with the extremists to secure the release of the four men.

He said: "There was no question of contact with the Syrian government."

Syria is considered one of the most dangerous places for journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said this month that 61 journalists were kidnapped in the country last year.

More than 60 have been killed since the conflict began in 2011.

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