CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – In his first public statement since his release, freed hostage Peter Theo Curtis spoke briefly to reporters Wednesday morning saying he was overwhelmed by emotion.
He said that in the days following his release he has learned “brave, determined and big-hearted people have been working for my release for two years.”
“I had no idea so much effort was being expended on my behalf,” said a grateful Curtis.
The 45-year-old freelance journalist was freed Sunday after being held captive in Syria for almost two years by Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-linked militant group.
Curtis told of strangers coming up to him in airports during his return to the United States and telling him how glad they were he was coming home.
“I suddenly remembered how good the American people are and what kindness they have in their hearts,” he said.
Speaking down the street from his mother’s Cambridge home, an emotional Curtis thanked reporters for caring about his story but apologized that he would not be doing an interview or answering questions.
“I have to bond with my mother and my family right now,” he said.
Curtis promised that he would be available in the future.
“I will be there and I will respond but I can’t do it now.”
Curtis arrived at Logan Airport Tuesday night after flying from Tel Aviv, Israel.
His release came days after ISIS posted a web video showing the execution of James Foley, a New Hampshire journalist kidnapped in 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising.
After the government of Qatar intervened on Curtis’s behalf, he was released to U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights before being transferred to U.S. authorities in Tel Aviv.
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