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French journalists freed

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

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.

Private Turkish news agency DHA said the four were found blindfolded and cuffed in the southeast Sanliurfa province late Friday. Turkish soldiers on routine patrol found the journalists after they were dropped off near the Turkey-Syria border by an unknown group.

Turkish television showed pictures of the four at a police station and then a local hospital.

Hollande's office said the four would return soon to France, and it did not provide any details about the conditions of their release. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal declined to comment.

The four went missing in two incidents in June. Press freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders has called Syria "the most dangerous country in the world" for journalists.

The Canadian Press

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