Journalist held captive in Syria arrives in the U.S.

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Peter Theo Curtis - American hostage freed from Syria
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Journalist held captive in Syria arrives in the U.S.
In this image made from undated video obtained by The Associated Press, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a man believed to be Peter Theo Curtis, a U.S. citizen held hostage by an al-Qaida linked group in Syria, delivers a statement. The U.S. government said on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014 that Curtis, who had been held hostage for about two years, had been released. (AP Photo)
Peter Theo Curtis
Peter Theo Curtis
Peter Theo Curtis
Peter Theo Curtis
Nancy Curtis, right, mother of freed journalist Peter Theo Curtis, leaves her house in Cambridge, Mass., followed by an unidentified tenant, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Peter Theo Curtis, who wrote under his birth name of Theo Padnos, was freed Sunday, Aug. 24, offering consolation to U.S. officials, a journalism community and family members deeply unnerved by the grisly video of James Foley's beheading in a desolate desert landscape.(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
This Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, photo, shows Michael Padnos, the father of Peter Theo Curtis, the American journalist freed by Islamic militants on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Padnos said Monday that his son and others who venture into dangerous lands like Syria deserve praise for wanting to "bear witness". (AP Photo/Jeff Schaeffer)
This Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, photo, shows Michael Padnos, the father of Peter Theo Curtis, the American journalist freed by Islamic militants on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Padnos said Monday that his son and others who venture into dangerous lands like Syria deserve praise for wanting to "bear witness". (AP Photo/Jeff Schaeffer)
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- A U.S. journalist said Wednesday that he was overwhelmed to learn that so many "brave, determined and big-hearted" people were behind efforts to secure his release from a Syrian extremist group.

Peter Theo Curtis, who was freed Sunday after 22 months in captivity, wore sandals and a gray T-shirt in his first public appearance. He returned to the United States Tuesday night.

"I have learned bit by bit that there have been hundreds of people, brave determined and big-hearted people all over the world working for my release. They've been working for two years on this," he said outside his mother's home in Cambridge.

"I had no idea when I was in prison. I had no idea that so much effort was being expended on my behalf," he said.

Curtis, 45, of Boston, was released by al-Nusra Front, a Sunni extremist group.

He says he is also grateful for the many people, including strangers, who have welcomed him back since his return.

"I suddenly remembered how good the American people are," he said.

Last week, American journalist James Foley, who also was kidnapped in 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising, was killed. The Islamic State group posted a video showing his beheading.

The extremists said they killed the native of Rochester, New Hampshire, in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.

Curtis' mother Nancy said in a statement Tuesday night she was "overwhelmed with relief" that her son had been returned to her.

"But this is a sober occasion because of the events of the past week," she said. "My heart goes out to the other families who are suffering."

U.S. freelance journalist, Austin Tice of Houston, disappeared in Syria in August 2012. He is believed to be held by the Syrian government.

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U.S. Journalist Curtis Thankful for Freedom

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