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Campaign to free French journalists abducted in Syria

AFP

French radio station Europe 1 on Tuesday unveiled a committee to campaign for the release of two of their journalists, Didier François and photographer Edouard Elias, who went missing in northern Syria a month ago and have not been heard from since.

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A month after two French journalists went missing in northern Syria, radio station Europe 1 has set up a committee to call attention to their plight and bring the two men home.

Europe 1 radio correspondent Didier François, 53, and freelance photographer Edouard Elias, 22, first went missing near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in early June after they were reportedly abducted by four men, along with their fixer and driver. According to French business daily “Les Echos,” the driver was later released.

French President François Hollande confirmed news of the two men’s disappearance on June 7, demanding their immediate release. While the details surrounding their kidnapping remain murky, his office said it believed the journalists had been intercepted at a checkpoint.

After a month with no public information regarding the men’s whereabouts, Europe 1 has unveiled the creation of a “support committee,” headed up by prominent French journalist Florence Aubenas, to help secure their release.

Aubenas, who was held hostage in Iraq, urged people to talk about the missing men instead of staying silent.

“The committee’s mission will be to remain vigilant, to make sure that everything is done to free Didier and Edouard. We want the government to take this issue very seriously and we know that they will,” Aubenas said. “To work as a journalist in Syria is to risk one’s own life. Didier and Edouard are victims of that.”

Europe 1 decided to go public with the committee to support François and Elias one day after Hollande met with their families.

The radio station said on its website Tuesday that it will renew its calls for the two journalists to be released every week until they are freed.

Several foreign journalists have died, disappeared or been taken hostage during Syria’s bloody two-year civil war. French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik was killed along with veteran Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin in a bombardment on the city of Homs in February 2012.

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