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Friday 19 September 2014

Four French hostages released in Syria

Published 20/04/2014 | 02:30

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French journalists Edouard Elias (front L), Didier Francois (R), Nicolas Henin (2nd R, background) and Pierre Torres (3rd R, background) arrive at a hospital in Sanliurfa, southeastern Turkey,  late April 18, 2014. The four French journalists, held hostage in Syria since June, were found by Turkish soldiers on its border with Syria on Saturday, Turkish media reported, and French President Francois Hollande said the four were in good health. They were found in Sanliurfa province, blindfolded with their hands bound, Dogan News Agency said. Hollande said the four were in "good health, in spite of the very gruelling conditions of their captivity." They will be taken to France in the coming hours, he said in a statement. Dogan said the journalists had been kidnapped by the rebel group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but that an unknown group brought the journalists to the Turkish border on Friday night. They would be handed over to French officials after medical checks, it said. Picture taken April 18, 2014. REUTERS/Dogan News Agency (DHA) (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MEDIA HEALTH TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ATTENTION EDITORS - NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY
French journalists Edouard Elias (front L), Didier Francois (R), Nicolas Henin (2nd R, background) and Pierre Torres (3rd R, background) arrive at a hospital in Sanliurfa, southeastern Turkey. The four French journalists, held hostage in Syria since June, were found by Turkish soldiers on its border with Syria. They were found in Sanliurfa province, blindfolded with their hands bound.

Four French journalists held hostage in Syria since June have been released, France's presidential palace said yesterday.

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President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement he felt "immense relief" after learning of the release of Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres – all said to be in good health despite "very trying conditions" of their captivity.

Meanwhile, two rebel car bombs targeted two central Syrian areas controlled by government forces yesterday, killing at least 10 people as opposition forces fought fiercely to hold onto territory, officials and activists reported.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one car bomb killed at least four people in the city of Homs, in an area dominated by Alawites – the same sect as President Bashar al-Assad.

Earlier in the day, another suicide bomber in a car blew himself up at a checkpoint near the government-controlled town of Salamiya, killing at least six soldiers, activists said. The bombing also left an unknown number of civilian casualties, the Observatory said.

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