The American Journalist, Peter Theo Curtis, has been released after almost two years of abduction. Curtis was abducted in early October 2012. It is thought that “The Nusra Front” or an organisation close to the Nusra were behind his abduction.
John Kerry, the American Foreign Minister, announced today that the journalist was finally returning to his home. He also added that following a week of indescribable tragedy, everyone was delighted at the return of Theo Curtis after having spent a long time in the hands of Al-Nusra. Kerry also pointed out that the US had been in touch with more than 20 countries in order to release Curtis and other American hostages in Syria.
The United Nations announced that Curtis (45 years) had been handed over to international peacekeepers in the village of al-Raafid in al-Jolan. After a medical inspection, he was transferred to US representatives.
The news of the release of Curtis comes shortly after a video was released of the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS fighters.
Curtis’ family offered their thanks to both the American and Qatari governments as well as others that assisted in the negotiations in order to release their son.
According to the press release of the family, Curtis was abducted a short while after he entered Syria, and remained detained with Al-Nusra or another organisation allied with Al-Nusra.
The details surrounding Curtis’ release have not been clarified, although his mother alluded that “Qatari government representatives had informed the family many times that they were working for the release of Theo on a humanitarian basis and with no payment of ransom involved.”
Previously, the American government hadn’t announced the abduction of Curtis, who was thought to have been abducted on Turkish land, or shortly after his entry into Syria via Antakia.
It is important to note that the second half of 2012 till the end of 2013 was characterised by one of the worst periods for journalists in Syria, in which a large number of local and international journalists were abducted, a large number of whom remain in custody, and others who were killed. This led to the areas in Syria not under government control to be emptied of foreign journalists and also weakened the local institutions in those areas, some of which were even closed down, especially those running in areas controlled by ISIS and Al-Nusra.