CAMBRIDGE: US writer Peter Theo Curtis freed this week after being held captive for two years by Syrian insurgents yesterday thanked Qatar and all those who had worked for his release.
Curtis, who was held by Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s official wing in Syria, said he had no idea while he was imprisoned that there had been hundreds of people around the world pushing for his release.
In a written statement, he thanked the government of Qatar and US officials for working to free him. “I am just overwhelmed with emotion,” the 45-year-old told reporters outside his mother’s home.
Curtis arrived in the US late on Tuesday after a flight from Tel Aviv, meeting his mother at Boston’s Logan Airport. His release comes against the backdrop of efforts to free other US hostages in Syria as the US considers possible options, including air strikes, to target the Islamic State.
His parents said in television interviews that they were relieved. Their son’s return came just days after rivals of Nusra Front, the militant group Islamic State, last week said it killed journalist James Foley and threatened to kill Steven Sotloff, another journalist being held hostage. Matt Schrier, an American photojournalist held captive with Curtis, told CBS’ 60 Minutes programme in 2013 that their captors suspected Curtis was an agent for Central Intelligence Agency, possibly because he spoke Arabic well.
Schrier escaped after more than six months in captivity.