Richard Engel And NBC Team Freed After Abduction In Syria
NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, 39, who was captured in Syria almost a week ago with two of his crew members, was freed unharmed on Monday after five days in captivity, NBC confirmed days after they regained contact with Engel.
Engel and the members of his team — who remained unidentified by NBC — were reportedly captured last Wednesday by an unknown militia group and held for five days, blindfolded and bound, before a Syrian rebel group known as Ahrar al-Sham (translated as "Free Men of Greater Syria") engaged Engel's unknown captors, killing two of them at a standard rebel checkpoint, according to Business Insider.
"After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country,” NBC wrote in a short statement after days of calling for news blackout on the topic in efforts to protect the captured men.
While there were no claims of responsibility for the kidnapping and no ransom demands, Engel and his crew were subject to "lots of psychological torture," he told NBC, including mock executions. There was also a video that was released called "Journalist dogs in the trap," showing Engel and his team, as well as other men from NBC, CNN and ABC, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on a one-room floor.
After his release, Engel, safely in Turkey, appeared via satellite on NBC's Today with his team, photographer John Kooistra and reporter Aziz Akyavas, to talk about the ordeal. "It is good to be here. And I'm very happy we're able to do this live shot this morning," Engel said, smiling and chuckling.
Engel is one of the only Western correspondents to cover the entire Iraq War. Highly respected and fluent in Arabic, Engel recently published the book, War Journal: My Five Years In Iraq.
Watch the interview from NBC with the newly released Engel here:
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