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 Music

Brantley Gilbert engaged to mystery woman

Fresh
brantley

The country star is preparing the tie the knot with an unnamed woman from his hometown of Jefferson, Georgia.

in Entertainment

Oprah, Neil Patrick Harris among year’s most ‘fascinating’

Fresh
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2009 file photo shows host Neil Patrick Harris during the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Harris will host the Emmys again. CBS will air the Emmycast live from Los Angeles on Sept. 22. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)

Barbara Walters is back with her annual TV special.

in Entertainment

Toys ‘R’ Us pulls ‘Breaking Bad’ dolls after protest

breaking

If a Walter White action figure was on your Christmas list, it just got more difficult to find.

in Music

Reba McEntire planning new album

reba

The country star has already recorded 11 new songs.

in Entertainment

Renee Zellweger: Furor over ‘peaceful’ face is ‘silly’

zellweger

The "Bridget Jones's Diary" star says her "new face" is a result of a massive lifestyle change.