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French Journalists Freed After Year Of Captivity In Syria

Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier Francois have been freed after being held hostage for almost a year in Syria.
Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 19, 2014

Four French journalists held captive in Syria for almost a year have been freed.

Turkish authorities patrolling the Syrian border Saturday found Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier Francois blindfolded and bound. They are all reportedly in good health and are expected to return to France Sunday. (Via Hurriyet)

"We thank the Turkish authorities, because they really helped us. And it's really nice to see the sky, to be able to walk, to be able to speak freely." (Via  Euronews)

The four reporters were abducted in two separate incidents in June 2013. It's still not clear who kidnapped the journalists, but Turkish media outlets have blamed the Islamic rebel group ISIS. (Via Channel 4)

It's also not clear why the men were released from captivity, but The New York Times has one theory: "The French in the past are believed to have paid ransoms to win the release of French hostages, although the French authorities deny that they do so."

French president Francois Hollande said in a statement he was "relieved" to learn of the four journalists' safe release. He also reiterated his commitment to freeing other journalists held captive around the world, including two French journalist being held in North Africa. (Via Présidence de laRépublique)

Syria remains one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists documented 61 kidnappings of journalists in Syria in 2013.