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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Kidnapped US journalist freed in Syria


An American journalist kidnapped nearly two years ago has been freed in Syria and handed over to UN representatives, after Qatari mediation helped lead to his release.

Peter Theo Curtis was freed from captivity on Sunday, after reportedly being abducted in Antakya, Turkey, where he planned to enter Syria in October 2012.

Footage of the the American was released on June 30, showing a disheveled Curtis with long hair and beard, but appearing to be in good health.

Speaking in a video obtained by Al Jazeera, Curtis read from a prepared script stating his name and profession, saying he was a journalist from Boston, Massachusetts.

Commenting on his treatment, Curtis said he "had everything" he needed and "everything has been perfect, food, clothing, even friends now".

Earlier this year, thirteen nuns were freed after being kidnapped by Syrian rebels following Lebanese-Qatari mediation, ending a three-month ordeal in a rare prisoner exchange with the government.

Curtis' release comes just days after the beheading of US journalist James Foley, who was captured in Syria in 2012.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State group released a graphic video on social media sites, showing one of its fighters beheading Foley, which it said was revenge for US raids on its territory.

In the video, titled "A Message To America," the group claimed to be holding another US journalist, and said his life depended on US President Barack Obama's next move.

"The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision," said a masked man in the video posted on social media sites, speaking English with a British accent as he held a prisoner the video named as Steven Sotloff.

Dozens of journalists covering the Syrian civil war have been seized since the conflict began in March 2011, with many others still missing.

Source; AlJazeera

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