News

American freed by Syrian militants overcome with emotion

American freed by Syrian militants overcome with emotion

FREED: Peter Theo Curtis, 45, went missing in 2012 and was held by Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria, whose rivals, the militant group Islamic State, last week killed journalist James Foley. Curtis was released on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An American writer released this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria is doing well and is excited to be free, his mother said on Tuesday.

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, went missing in 2012 and was held by Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s official wing in Syria, whose rivals, the militant group Islamic State, last week killed journalist James Foley. Curtis was released on Sunday.

“He was so excited,” his mother, Nancy Curtis, told ABC News in an interview taped on Monday. The two spoke briefly after his release, she said, adding that Curtis was staying in a hotel and even having a beer before heading home.

Curtis arrived in the United States late on Tuesday, U.S. media reported. He landed in Newark on a flight from Tel Aviv and then flew on to Boston, where he was greeted by his mother, the New York Times reported, citing a family statement.

After hearing from her son, Curtis said she immediately wrote to Foley’s mother, Diane. Last week, Islamic State released a video showing his beheading and threatening to kill another American journalist being held hostage, Steven Sotloff.

“We’ve been through so much together, and I didn’t want her to hear it from the media first,” Curtis said of her son’s release, speaking from Cambridge, Massachusetts, on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.

About a month ago, Curtis said the FBI had received a frightening video of her son pleading for his life and saying he had just three days left to live. She has not watched the video, she added.

Curtis’ father, Michael Padnos, said the search for his son was like “hunting for bats in a dark, black cave” because he could not communicate with him, according to CBS News.

“It felt as if there was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders,” he said of his son’s release, speaking from France in an interview that aired on “CBS This Morning.”

The comments come against the backdrop of efforts to free other U.S. hostages in Syria. On Monday, sources familiar with the matter said Qatar, whose diplomacy helped free Curtis, is working to help free four other Americans held hostage in Syria by various armed groups.

At the same time, the United States is preparing military options, including surveillance flights, to pressure Islamic State in Syria, U.S. officials say.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Eric Beech and Clarence Fernandez)

Recent Headlines

in National

Police raid home of gunman in Mohammad cartoon attack

Local police and FBI investigators collect evidence and survey the scene where two gunmen were shot dead, after their bodies were removed in Garland, Texas May 4, 2015.

Police and FBI searched the apartment of a gunman who allegedly opened fire outside a Texas exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

in Sports

Craig Counsell replaces Ron Roenicke with Milwaukee Brewers

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2015, file photo, former Milwaukee Brewers’ Craig Counsell throws during a spring training baseball workout in Phoenix. Counsell was hired as manager of the Brewers on Monday, May 4, 2015, replacing Ron Roenicke who was fired the night before.

The Brewers fired manager Ron Roenicke and replaced him with former Milwaukee infielder Craig Counsell.

in Sports

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry wins NBA MVP

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry points after making a three pointer while drawing a foul against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Stephen Curry beats out Houston's James Harden for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award.

in Sports

Soccer legend Jimmy Greaves in intensive care

Jimmy Greaves
promotes the new "Saint & Greavsie" TV show as part of Setanta's FA Cup Final coverage.

England soccer legend Jimmy Greaves is in an intensive care unit in hospital after suffering a severe stroke.

in National

Former CEO Carly Fiorina enters White House race

Potential Republican presidential candidate former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's forum in Waukee, Iowa, April 25, 2015.

Former Hewlett-Packard Co Chief Executive Carly Fiorina is running for president, becoming the only woman in the pack of Republican candidates for the White House in 2016.