American Peter Theo Curtis, Freed by Militants in Syria, Back in U.S.

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An American writer who was freed this week by an al Qaeda affiliated group that held him captive in Syria for nearly two years has arrived back in the United States, his family said in a statement.

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, flew from Tel Aviv and arrived at Newark Liberty Airport Tuesday afternoon, and then flew to Boston's Logan international Airport where he was reunited with his mother, Nancy Curtis.

“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,” Peter Theo Curtis said. “I am also deeply indebted to the U.S. officials who have worked on my case. I especially want to thank the government of Qatar for intervening on my behalf.”

Curtis had been held captive by Jabhat Al-Nusra, an al Qaeda-affiliated group fighting in Syria, since 2012. He was released by the militants Sunday and turned over to U.N. representatives in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights region of Syria. His release came just days after another group, The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, released gruesome video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley.


— Phil Helsel