Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, along with three of his crew members, was released on Monday (Dec. 17) after being kidnapped and held for five days in Syria. They were in the notoriously dangerous country reporting on the rebel opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
Engel’s last broadcast before the incident was last Thursday (Dec 13.), after which he and his crew traveled with some of the rebels into what was believed to be an area they controlled. Their truck was then ambushed by 15 masked gunmen. Dragged out of the vehicle and transported to several safe houses, Engel recounted that they were psychologically tortured as they received death threats, were questioned and forced to pick someone to die first. The kidnappers are believed to be supporters of President al-Assad.
“It is good to be here,” Engel said in an interview with the Today show. “I’m very happy that we’re able to do this live shot this morning.”
News outlets had gotten word of the capture, but decided to stall on reports in an effort to keep them safe. Syria is regarded as one of the most life-threatening places for journalists. Engel and his crew found their freedom when their abductors were attacked and killed by rebels.
The NBC correspondent thanked the press for protecting him, and insured that he and his crew were safe.