Abducted journalists in Syria freed, taken to Turkey

Photo: Abducted journalists in Syria freed, taken to Turkey / Turkey

Four French journalists held in Syria since they were abducted in June were released and brought to Turkey on Saturday, Anadolu Agency reported.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent in the southern Turkish city of Sanliurfa saw Edouard Elias, 22, Didier Francois, 54, Pierre Torres, 29 and Nicolas Henin, 38, welcomed by Turkish soldiers.

It is not clear whom or what groups kidnapped the journalists.

French President Francois Hollande said in a statement that the men were in good health, "in spite of the very grueling conditions of their captivity."

Didier Francois, a senior war correspondent working for Europe 1 radio, and Edouard Elias, a photographer, were kidnapped in early June on their way to the Syrian city of Aleppo. Nicolas Henin, who was working for Le Point magazine and Pierre Torres, reporting for French-German television channel Arte, were taken later that month.

AA Correspondent for Thailand Arnaud Dubus, who worked with Francois at French news agency Agence Centrale de Presse, called Francois "a war reporter in the true sense."

"I have known him for 25 years, and during this whole time he has covered conflicts, from the Iran-Iraq war to the wars in Afghanistan and Africa," Dubus said. "He is mentally solid and I think he was well equipped to cope with this situation."

"He is a reporter who works on the ground, more comfortable on battlefields and with guerilla groups than in a press room behind a computer," added Dubus. "Maybe this experience will make him a bit more cautious, but I don't think fundamentally it will alter his way of working," Dubus said.

French President Hollande said that the men will be taken home in the coming hours after a medical check-up.

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