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Captive U.S. journalist freed in Syria

Aug. 24, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
SYRIA-CONFLICT-US-HOSTAGE
This screen grab shows Peter Theo Curtis, a 45-year-old author and freelance journalist, while detained in Syria. Curtis was released August 24, after being held hostage for 22 months by an Islamic rebel group in Syria. (AFP via Getty Images)
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An American held captive for two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria was released Sunday, according to the Obama administration.

“For two years, we have kept Peter Theo Curtis, a U.S. citizen held hostage in Syria, in our thoughts and prayers,” White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a statement. “Today, we join his family and loved ones in welcoming his freedom.”

Curtis was being held by the al-Nusra front, an al-Qaida-linked group, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

The New York Times reported Curtis is a journalist and was captured on the Syria-Turkey border in October 2012.

Footage of Curtis, in a video obtained by Al Jazeera and the Times in late June, showed the American looking disheveled. Speaking from a script, Curtis stated his name and said he was a journalist from Boston, Al Jazeera reported. He also said his captors were treating him well, and that he “had everything” he needed, the Times reported.

“Over these last two years, the United States reached out to more than two dozen countries asking for urgent help from anyone who might have tools, influence, or leverage to help secure Theo’s release and the release of any Americans held hostage in Syria,” Kerry said.

Rice said Curtis has left Syria and will be reunited with his family shortly.

“We will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all Americans who are held overseas so that they can be reunited with their families as well,” Rice said.

Curtis’ release comes days after the Islamic State released a video showing the brutal beheading of James Foley, a 40-year-old U.S. freelance reporter.

Steven Joel Sotloff, a photojournalist and former University of Central Florida student, remains a hostage of the terrorist group and was threatened with death in the same video that portrayed Foley’s killing.

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