Peter Theo Curtis, an American journalist who had been held captive for almost two years by the branch of al Qaeda in Syria, was freed, U.S. officials confirmed on Sunday.
Curtis had been abducted close to the border between Syria and Turkey in 2012. According to The New York Times Curtis had been held captive by the Nusra Front, which is group in Syria associated with al Qaeda.
The White House released a statement from National Security Advisor Susan Rise on Curtis’s release:
For two years, we have kept Peter Theo Curtis, a U.S. citizen held hostage in Syria, in our thoughts and prayers. 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.
Just as we celebrate Theo’s freedom, we hold in our thoughts and prayers the Americans who remain in captivity in Syria. Notwithstanding today’s welcome news, the events of the past week shocked the conscience of the world. As President Obama said, we have and will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to see that the remaining American hostages are freed.
Today, the American people share in the joy and relief that Theo’s family feels, and we look forward to his safe return home. We will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all Americans who are held overseas so that they can be reunited with their families as well.
Secretary of State John Kerry also released a statement on Curtis:
Particularly after a week marked by unspeakable tragedy, we are all relieved and grateful knowing that Theo Curtis is coming home after so much time held in the clutches of Jabhat Al-Nusrah.
For two years, this young American has been separated from his family. Finally he is returning home. Theo’s mother, whom we’ve known from Massachusetts and with whom we’ve worked during this horrific period, simply refused to give up and has worked indefatigably to keep hope alive that this day could be a reality.
Over these last two years, the United States reached out to more than two dozen countries asking for urgent help from anyone who might have tools, influence, or leverage to help secure Theo’s release and the release of any Americans held hostage in Syria.
Every waking hour, our thoughts and our faith remain with the Americans still held hostage and with their families, and we continue to use every diplomatic, intelligence, and military tool at our disposal to find them and bring our fellow citizens home.
This post was updated.