Freed American Hostage Says He's 'Overwhelmed With Emotion' After Release

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The American writer who was held captive for two years by an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria and released this week said Wednesday that he is “overwhelmed with emotion” and asked for time to bond with his family.

Peter Theo Curtis spoke briefly in front of his family’s home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He did not take questions or address the details of his captivity. He spoke of deep gratitude for the people who had worked for his freedom.

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“I have learned, bit by bit, that there have been literally hundreds of people — brave, determined and big-hearted people all over the world — working for my release,” he said. “I had no idea, when I was in prison, I had no idea that so much effort was being expended on my behalf.”

Curtis, 45, was held by Jabhat al-Nusra. He was released by the militants Sunday and turned over to U.N. representatives. He flew from Tel Aviv to the United States on Tuesday.

Since his release, he said, “Total strangers have been coming up to me and saying, ‘Hey, we’re just glad you’re home. Welcome home. Glad you’re back, glad you’re safe.’”

“I remember how good the American people are and what goodness they have in their hearts,” he said. “And to all those people, I say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


— Erin McClam