France says two more journalists held in Syria

PARIS (AFP) - France said on Wednesday that reporter Nicolas Henin and photographer Pierre Torres are being held in Syria, bringing to at least four the number of French journalists abducted in the conflict-wracked country.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that Mr Henin, 37, and Mr Torres, 29, had been captured on June 22 but did not provide any further details.

Their abduction was not initially made public at the request of their families, who said in a statement they had hoped a media blackout might help secure a quick release of the two men.

"But after more than 100 days of waiting, the families and friends of the two journalists wanted to address a message to Nicolas and Pierre to tell them they are doing everything they can to secure their rapid release," a statement from the families said.

They said they would now be working with the families of the two other detained French journalists, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias.

Mr Francois, a seasoned war reporter for Europe 1 radio, and Mr Elias, a photographer, were detained on June 6 by unknown men at a checkpoint while travelling to Syria's second city of Aleppo. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday that France had recent indications that the two men were still alive.

Mr Henin and Mr Torres disappeared while working in the town of Raqqa in northern Syria.

Mr Henin was employed by a television production company, Solas Films, and regularly did work for French television station Arte, weekly magazine Le Point, Belgium and Switzerland's national broadcasters and Radio Canada.

Mr Torres had covered the 2011 Libyan conflict and was on his second trip to Syria. Among his clients were AFP.

The families of both said they had been informed by the French authorities in August that the two men were still alive.