Peter Theo Curtis returns to U.S. after Syrian captivity

Peter Theo Curtis returns to U.S. after Syrian captivity

Credit: Curtis Family/USA TODAY

Peter Theo Curtis returns to U.S. after Syrian captivity

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by Melanie Eversley

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 5:57 AM

(USA TODAY) -- Journalist Peter Theo Curtis, held captive in Syria for two years, is back on American soil after being freed Sunday.

Curtis met his mother, Nancy Curtis, at Logan International Airport in Boston, after flying from Tel Aviv and through Newark Liberty International Airport, according to a statement provided to media by family spokeswoman Betsy Sullivan.

Curtis thanked U.S. officials who have worked on his case and the government of Qatar, which worked to secure 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 statement quoted Curtis as saying.

Curtis' mother said in the statement that she was "overwhelmed."

An Islamist group affiliated with al-Qaeda captured Curtis in 2012. The 45-year-old Massachusetts resident had written for the New Republic, and the year before his capture, he wrote a book called Undercover Muslim: A Journey into Yemen.

Militants released him on Sunday and turned him over to United Nations representatives in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights section of Syria.

Attention to his case has been heightened by the execution on video of journalist James Foley, believed to be the work of the terrorist group Islamic State.

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

President Obama was relieved by Curtis' release when he was briefed Sunday, said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

"But we continue to hold in our thoughts and prayers the Americans who remain in captivity in Syria, and we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to see that the remaining American hostages are freed," Schultz said.

The Associated Press and Laura Mandaro in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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