In a happy ending to a harrowing misadventure in war-ravaged Syria, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, Richard Engel, has been freed from Syrian kidnappers and is safe in Turkey. As the New Civil Rights Movement reported yesterday, Engel had been missing since Thursday, when he and Turkish reporter Aziz Akyavaşm crossed into Syria.
Although NBC never publicly confirmed Engel’s capture, we now know a video released Friday, entitled “Journalists like dogs stuck in trap,” revealed Engel and five other men sitting on the floor in an unknown location. Writing on the wall behind the captives appeared to support embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it is unclear with whom the kidnappers were aligned.
NBC News says the captives were being moved to a new location Monday night when rebels from the Ahrar al-Sham brigade discovered them at a checkpoint they were manning. Two of the kidnappers were killed in the ensuing firefight, and the rest fled. A post on the Ahrar al-Sham Facebook page said a total of four western journalists and one Turkish journalist, believed to be reporter Aziz Akyavaşm who was captured with Engel, were freed. All appear to be unharmed.
Engel and the other freed journalists were safeguarded overnight in Syria by the rebels and returned to Turkey this morning, ending five days of captivity. NBC News has expressed its deep gratitude to all those who gathered information, and worked to free the hostages.
Richard Engel and his crew recounted their ordeal on the Today show this morning:
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.