The family of Peter Theo Curtis, the America freelance journalist held captive for 22 months by Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate based in Syria, expressed gratitude for Curtis' release Sunday and regret about last week's beheading of fellow journalist James Foley. In a statement, the family thanked the governments of the U.S. and Qatar, and the individuals who helped assist in the journalist’s liberation.
“My heart is full at the extraordinary, dedicated, incredible people, too many to name individually, who have become my friends and have tirelessly helped us over these many months,” Curtis' mother, Nancy, said in a statement released by the State Department. “Please know that we will be eternally grateful.”
She talked about Foley, who was held captive and beheaded by the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
“We are so relieved that Theo is healthy and safe and that he is finally headed home after his ordeal, but we are also deeply saddened by the terrible, unjustified killing last week of his fellow journalist, Jim Foley, at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS.
“I have gotten to know the Foley family during these many long months of uncertainty and worry, and have seen Diane Foley’s bravery and her heroic efforts firsthand, efforts that helped rally the spirits of the families of all the journalists and others being held captive. We appeal to the captors of the remaining hostages to release them in the same humanitarian spirit that prompted Theo’s release.”
The specifics surrounding Curtis’ release were unknown to the family, his mother said. “While the family is not privy to the exact terms that were negotiated, we were repeatedly told by representatives of the Qatari government that they were mediating for Theo’s release on a humanitarian basis without the payment of money.”
She added: “My entire focus right now is on helping the other families of those still being held in Syria, and on taking care of my son.”
Curtis was abducted near the Syria-Turkey border in October 2012. News of his release comes just days after the video of Foley’s beheading surfaced.
Follow me on twitter @mariamzzarella