After five-day ordeal, US network's chief foreign correspondent and his crew are unharmed
Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for the US network NBC and members of his team, have been freed unharmed from their Syrian captors after a firefight. They had been held for five days.
The group disappeared shortly after crossing into north west Syria from Turkey last Thursday (13 December). NBC had no contact with the kidnappers and asked for a news blackout about the incident, which was observed by mainstream news outlets.
There was no request for ransom during the time Engel and his crew were missing.
After being abducted, they were put into the back of a truck and blindfolded before being transported to an unknown location, believed to be near the small town of Ma'arrat Misrin.
Throughout their captivity, they were blindfolded and bound, but otherwise not physically harmed, said the network.
Early yesterday, the prisoners were being moved to a new location when their captors ran into a checkpoint manned by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group. There was a confrontation and a firefight ensued.
Two of the captors were killed, while an unknown number of others escaped. None of the NBC crew suffered any injuries. They remained in Syria until this morning when they made their way to the border and re-entered Turkey. According to NBC, all were in good health.
The network "expressed its gratitude to those who worked to gather information and secure the release of our colleagues."
Engel, 39, is widely regarded as one of America's leading foreign correspondents for his coverage of conflicts around the world over the last 15 years.
Most recently, he was recognised for his reporting of the 2011 revolution in Egypt, the conflict in Libya and unrest throughout the Arab world.
Watch Engel and his crew discuss their kidnapping on NBC's Today Show, aired Tuesday, below.