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

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

4 PHOTOS
Peter Theo Curtis - American hostage freed from Syria
See Gallery
Journalist held captive in Syria arrives in the U.S.
Peter Theo Curtis
Peter Theo Curtis
Peter Theo Curtis
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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.

More in the news:
Amid Ebola fears, Air France urged to stop flights
Syrian rebels seize border crossing with Israel
North Korea calls US 'graveyard of human rights'
Hurricane Cristobal heads toward Bermuda
ISIS executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base

U.S. Journalist Curtis Thankful for Freedom

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Man Finds 5 Abandoned 'Puppies' In His Garden - Then Quickly Realizes He Made A Big Man Finds 5 Abandoned 'Puppies' In His Garden - Then Quickly Realizes He Made A Big
Man's Wife Leaves Him And Their Kids After A Fight - Two Days Later He Posts This Man's Wife Leaves Him And Their Kids After A Fight - Two Days Later He Posts This
15 Recall the Kindest Thing a Stranger Ever Did for Them 15 Recall the Kindest Thing a Stranger Ever Did for Them