American writer and journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who was held captive for nearly two years by the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, returned to the United States Tuesday, two days after his captors released him, his family said.
Curtis, 45, flew from Tel Aviv, Israel, arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey late in the afternoon, and then flew on to Logan International Airport in Boston, where he met his mother, Nancy Curtis, according to a statement from his family that was reported by ABC News.
Curtis said upon his return, according to the family statement: “I have been so touched and moved, beyond all words, by the people who have come up to me today - strangers on the airplane, the flight attendants and, most of all, my family to say welcome home. I am also deeply indebted to the U.S. officials who have worked on my case. I especially want to thank the government of Qatar for intervening on my behalf.”
"I am overwhelmed with relief that this day has come and my son is standing beside me," his mother said. "But this is a sober occasion because of the events of the past week. My heart goes out to the other families who are suffering."
Curtis was handed over to United Nations peacekeepers in Al Rafid village, located in the Golan Heights region between Syria and Israel, Sunday evening. He received a medical checkup before he was handed over to U.S. officials.
Photojournalist Matt Schrier, who says he spent more than six months in captivity with Curtis until he managed to escape from a small window secured with wire bars, described his ordeal to CBS’ News “60 Minutes” last fall.
“During that interview, Schrier shared many details about the captivity and torture that both he and Curtis endured,” CBS said Tuesday. “Schrier also explained how he managed to escape while Curtis didn't. 60 Minutes omitted some of these details from the original broadcast story in the interest of Curtis' safety.”
Now that Curtis has been freed, “60 Minutes” has decided to release Schrier's account of their captivity and torture in Syria, CBS said.