Freed French journalists "relieved to be home"

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Freed French journalists "relieved to be home"

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Four freed French journalists have been talking about their ordeal during their captivity for more than 10 months in Syria.

Often cold, hungry and kept in the dark , the four (Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier Francois) had been moved from place to place many times by their captors.

They were welcomed back on French soil by President Francois Hollande and their families who were waiting for the men at the Villacoublay military airbase, southwest of Paris, early Sunday morning.

Nicolas Henin, said later in an interview : “It was extremely gratifying to have a sense of how negotiations were being conducted on the French side … They kept on wanting proof of life, videos were made of us and secret questions came from our families….it was all extremely gratifying. “

The men who went missing in two separate incidents last June are believed to have been held by suspected Islamist rebels.

Henin added: “There was a bit of physical abuse, of course, but it is what all Syrian prisoners experience . Syria has always been a world centre of torture. Nothing surprising about that.”

The journalists were found blindfolded and handcuffed in a no-man’s land in Turkey’s border province of Sanliurfa on Friday night and were taken by Turkish soldiers to a police station in the nearby town of Akcakale.

Negotiations with their kidnappers had been going on for several weeks but it is not known if anything was offered for their freedom.