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Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

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The four French journalists who were held hostage for 10 months in Syria returned home to France early on Sunday, where they were greeted by French President François Hollande as well as their families and colleagues.

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Four French journalists held in captivity in Syria for 10 months returned to French soil early Sunday, two days after they crossed the Syrian border into Turkey, where they were found by Turkish troops.

The four men, whose release was first reported Saturday morning, were met by French President François Hollande and their families at Villacoublay airport, close to Paris.

Hollande declared that it was “a joyous day for France.”

Freed French journalists reunite with their families

“France is proud to have citizens of this calibre, who serve in the name of freedom of the press,” Hollande said. “France is proud to have obtained their liberty.”

The president underlined, however, the continued plight of other journalists who remain in captivity.

Journalist Didier François expressed his gratitude and relief to be back in France.

“We are so lucky to be French,” he said. “It was a long [wait] but we never lost hope.”

Didier François and fellow journalists Nicolas Hénin, Edouard Elias and Pierre Torres were abducted by radical Islamist groups in northern Syria in June 2013.

French authorities have released no details of their liberation, but Turkey's Dogan News Agency reported that an unknown group transported the journalists on Friday night to the southeastern border of Turkey, where they were discovered by Turkish soldiers.

Read FRANCE 24's exclusive interview with Nicolas Hénin, former hostage in Syria.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)
 

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