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Four French journalists held captive in Syria for more than 10 months returned home to France on Sunday, freshly shaved and beaming, where they were met at an airbase by President Francois Hollande, their families and friends.

Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier Francois smiled at a crowd of journalists, some of them colleagues, after descending from a military helicopter at the Villacoublay airbase southwest of Paris.

"It's a great joy and an immense relief, obviously, to be free. Under the sky, which we haven't seen for a long time, to breathe the fresh air, walk freely," veteran Europe 1 reporter Francois said in an impromptu speech at the side of his fellow ex-hostages and Hollande.

— Reuters

French journalist Nicolas Henin, former hostage, is greeted by his family moments after the arrival of the four former hostages by helicopter from Evreux to the military airbase in Villacoublay, near Paris, on April 20, 2014.PHILIPPE WOJAZER / Reuters