April 21 - A French journalist, back in Paris after more than 10 months in captivity in Syria, says his captors carried out ''mock executions.'' Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Four French journalists held captive in Syria for more than 10 months returned to France Sunday where they were welcomed by President Francois Hollande, their families and friends. Hollande called it a day of joy for France. On Monday, veteran Europe 1 reporter Didier Francois recounts the ordeal to Europe 1. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FORMER HOSTAGE AND EUROPE 1 REPORTER DIDIER FRANCOIS SAYING: "Yes there were mock executions, a pistol held to the head. That's part of the range of basic exercises. But overall, as long as there was room for discussion or negotiation, I never really believed they would do it." Francois was abducted along with a Europe 1 photographer on the way to Aleppo in June 2013. Amateur video which can not be independently verified from that time shows war raging in the one time commercial capital He says they were held in areas close to the combat. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ) FORMER HOSTAGE AND EUROPE 1 REPORTER DIDIER FRANCOIS SAYING: "We were handcuffed right away. We were in basements. Over ten and a half months, we must have spent around 15 days or three weeks in a house where we could look outside. The rest of the time we were in basements with iron doors and bars between all the gaps. The war in Syria now in its fourth year has scarred the country and killed more than 150,000 people. Twenty people are believed to be still held hostage in the country.