Journalist Held Captive in Syria Returns to U.S., via Israel

Peter Theo Curtis, who was held by the al-Nusra Front for 22 months, reunites with family after leaving Tel Aviv.

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Peter Theo Curtis, a freelance reporter who had been held hostage for about two years in Syria, reunites with his mother in the U.S., August 26, 2014.
Peter Theo Curtis, a freelance reporter who had been held hostage for about two years in Syria, reunites with his mother in the U.S., August 26, 2014.Credit: AP

Journalist Peter Theo Curtis returned home to the United States on Tuesday, two days after being freed by a Syrian extremist group that held him hostage for 22 months, his family said.

Curtis family spokeswoman Betsy Sullivan said in a statement that Curtis arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday afternoon after leaving Tel Aviv. By evening he had been reunited with his mother Nancy Curtis at Boston Logan International Airport.

"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," Curtis said in the statement.

He also said he was "deeply indebted" to the U.S. officials who worked to get him released.

Curtis, 45, of Boston, was released by al-Nusra Front, a Sunni extremist group.

Last week, journalist James Foley, who also was kidnapped in 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising, was killed. The Islamic State group posted a Web video showing his execution.

The extremists said they killed the Rochester, New Hampshire, resident in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.

Curtis' mother said she was "overwhelmed with relief" that her son had been returned to her. "But this is a sober occasion because of the events of the past week," she said. "My heart goes out to the other families who are suffering."

Another U.S. freelance journalist, Austin Tice of Houston, disappeared in Syria in August 2012. He is believed to be held by the Syrian government.

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