American held in Syria released

MGN
Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 1:46pm

American Peter Theo Curtis, who was held hostage for two years by Islamist rebels in Syria, was released Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

"Particularly after a week marked by unspeakable tragedy, we are all relieved and grateful knowing that Theo Curtis is coming home after so much time held in the clutches of (al-Nusra Front)," Kerry said in a written announcement.

The United States was not involved in negotiations for his release, but was aware of private efforts to secure the release, two U.S. law enforcement officials said. It's not known whether any ransom was paid, the officials said.

The United Nations said Curtis was handed over to U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, which is under Israeli government control, and was given a medical checkup.

White House national security adviser Susan Rice said Curtis was safe and no longer in Syria.

"We expect he will be reunited with his family shortly," Rice said.

CNN obtained two videos that appear to have been recorded during the late stages of his captivity. In one, a gun is pointed at his head and Curtis speaks rapidly as if under duress.

He gives his name, the date and says he is a journalist from Boston.

It was unclear if Curtis was on assignment when he was abducted in 2012.

The news comes just five days after ISIS militants released a horrifying video of one of its militants beheading American journalist James Foley.

CNN's Evan Perez and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
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