Four French Journalists Return after 10 Months Held Hostage in Syria

President François Hollande announced this Saturday April 19 the release of four journalists held hostage in Syria since last June. In the statement, he said that he felt “immense relief” that the four ex-hostages, Didier François, Edouard Elias, Nicolas Hénin and Pierre Torres, are “free” and “in good health despite the terrible conditions during their captivity.”

On Sunday April 20, the four journalists landed at the airport of Villacoublay, a military base south of Paris. President Hollande, Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, and the hostages’ families were waiting at the airport to welcome them back home. Didier François said with emotion that “it is a great fortune to be free, to see the sky and to be able to walk. It has been a long time but we never doubted.”

The four journalists went missing in two different incidents in June. A jihadist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is believed to be behind these kidnappings.

It was unclear whether a ransom had been paid for their freedom. The journalists were found in a no man’s land on the border between Turkey and Syria after ten months of captivity and were sent to the hospital in Akçakale, a police outpost in Turkey, before flying back to France.

However, two other French journalists, Serge Lazarevic and Gilberto Rodriguez Leal, are still being held hostage. They were captured in Mali in November 2011 and November 2012, respectively.

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  1. […] the release of a group of French journalists from a Syrian prison, the issue of French citizens leaving the country to “faire le djihad” has been brought to the […]

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