After being kidnapped and held captive in Syria for a harrowing five days, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and his crew have been released and have safely left the country.
“We weren’t physically beaten or tortured. It was a lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed,” Engel said.
The NBC report said that there was no contact with the crew and no ransom was demanded. Their account is as follows:
After entering Syria, Engel and his team were abducted, tossed into the back of a truck before being transported to an unknown location believed to be near the small town of Ma’arrat Misrin. During their captivity, they were blindfolded and bound, but otherwise not physically harmed, the network said.
Early Monday evening local time, the prisoners were being moved to a new location in a vehicle 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, the network said.
The NBC News crew was unharmed in the incident. They remained in Syria until Tuesday morning when they made their way to the border and re-entered Turkey, the network said. They were to be evaluated and debriefed, but had communicated that everyone was in good health.
NBC News asked other media outlets not to report the kidnapping for fear it could put the crew in danger, a common procedure when there are safety concerns relating to missing journalists.
Engle and his crew discuss their ordeal here: