UPDATE 2:33 p.m. EDT: White House officials confirmed the release of U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis, saying he had been held by the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate based in Syria.
"For two years, we have kept Peter Theo Curtis, a U.S. citizen held hostage in Syria, in our thoughts and prayers," National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a statement. "Today, we join his family and loved ones in welcoming his freedom. Theo is now safe outside of Syria, and we expect he will be reunited with his family shortly."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also issued a statement, saying, "We are all relieved and grateful knowing that Theo Curtis is coming home after so much time held in the clutches of [the Nusra Front]."
U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis was freed from captivity in Syria after Qatari forces helped mediate his release, Al-Jazeera reported Sunday. Curtis, who was kidnapped two years ago, is now under U.N. care, the Qatar news channel said.
Curtis’ last known location was in Antakya, Turkey, in October 2012, from where he had planned to enter Syria. Al-Jazeera obtained video footage featuring Curtis on June 30, in which he stated he was a journalist from Boston. Curtis said in the video, reading from a script, that “everything has been perfect” regarding his treatment in captivity.
It was not clear what group was responsible for kidnapping Curtis and holding him hostage for the past two years.
News of Curtis’ release comes just days after the Islamic State extremist group released a video showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.