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Four abducted French journalists freed in Syria

By Kyle Johnson,

Four French journalists who were abducted in Syria were freed Saturday, 10 months after their initial capture.

The four, Edouard Elias, Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres and Didier Francois, were taken to the Turkish-Syrian border for their plane ride back, reports the New York Times. President Francois Hollande announced that all four were "in good health despite the grueling conditions of their captivity."

Francois, one of the freed journalists, spoke with a Turkish television channel and said, "We thank the Turkish authorities because they helped us a great deal."

A report from DHA, a Turkish news outlet, said the journalists were initially found blindfolded and handcuffed by patrolling soldiers in the Sanliurfa province, according to the Associated Press.

Why they were freed now isn't known, but France claims it did not pay a ransom for the four.

The Frenchmen were abducted in 2013, but not all at once. Although it isn't exactly known who held the four, it is believed they were grabbed by members of the militant Islamic state.

A former guide and translator, Hussam al-Ahmad, told the AP he was with two of the four abducted men and explained Henin and Torres were taken after asking to take photographs of several of the extremist fighters playing football.

 
 

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