Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kidnapped American Journalist Released in Syria

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Within days following the beheading of American Journalist James Foley by the Islamic State terrorist group, an American journalist kidnapped nearly two years ago has been freed in Syria and handed over to United Nations representatives.

The journalist released is Peter Theo Curtis, originally abducted in Antakya, Turkey, where he planned to enter Syria in October 2012.

Footage of the American in captivity was released on June 30, showing a disheveled Curtis with long hair and beard, but appearing to be in good health.

ISIS has used hostages to extract money from governments.  The kidnapping of Curtis may have been by another Muslim jihadist group, however it is still unclear which Islamic terrorist faction was behind the kidnapping of Curtis.  One source has stated, "In many cases prisoners change hands between groups, so it's very hard to track down which group holds which hostage," which means whatever group kidnapped Curtis may not be the same group that held him, or released him.

At least 67 journalists have been killed in Syria since the start of the war for control of Syria. Others remain missing, assumed to be kidnapped, and possibly held, as has been Curtis.

Earlier during the Summer, the Obama administration attempted to locate and free American hostages held in that part of the world, including James Foley who was later beheaded, by launching an operation in Syria, but the operation failed.  The release of Curtis is being credited to the efforts of Qatari negotiators.  

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