Released US Journalist Arrives Home after Spending 22 Months in Captivity in Syria
By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | August 27, 2014 5:41 PM EST
U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who had been held hostage in Syria for 22 months, arrived home. He was freed by the extremist group a couple of days back. Curtis was reportedly kidnapped by Syrian rebel group al-Nusra Front in October 2012.
REUTERS/Al Jazeera/Handout via
U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis is shown in this undated still frame taken from video courtesy of Al Jazeera on August 24, 2014. Kidnappers in Syria have freed the writer missing since 2012, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday, following what Qatari-owned TV station Al Jazeera said were efforts by the Gulf Arab state to win his release.
According to the United Nations, the extremist group handed over Curtis to UN peacekeepers on Sunday, Aug 24. The hand-over took place in the Golan Heights. He underwent a medical check-up in Tel Aviv that revealed that his health is in sound condition.
The journalist's family issued a statement which confirmed Curtis' arrival at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday. He reunited with his family at Boston Logan International Airport later in the evening when he met his mother Nancy Curtis. Curtis expressed how "deeply indebted" he is to the U.S. government which worked on his release. "I have been so touched and moved, beyond all words, by the people who have come up to me today - strangers on the airplane, the flight attendants, and most of all my family - to say welcome home," the 45-year-old said.
Curtis called his mother from Tel Aviv. Nancy remembered the conversation she had with her son. She said that he was happy to stay in a "wonderful hotel" and "drinking a beer," which was strikingly different from being "in a cellar for two years." "He was really excited, and he was thrilled to be in Tel Aviv and frustrated that he can't go out because the place apparently is surrounded by paparazzi," she said.
Nancy said that reuniting with her son made her "overwhelmed with relief." However, she said that she would not be able to celebrate the release her son's release after what happened to another U.S. journalist James Foley. Nancy said that she was "relieved" but nobody was "in the mood of celebration."
Foley was reportedly beheaded on camera as the execution video was released online. "But after the events of the last week and knowing those other children of my friends are in danger, you know, I have very conflicted emotions. I've come to know the other families as well, and these kids have a lot in common," she told CNN.
Foley's mother, Diane, was apparently the first person Nancy got in touch with after her son's release had been confirmed.
Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au
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