Deadly firefight frees kidnapped correspondent in Syria
A deadly firefight between two armed militias in Syria has led to the freeing of NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, after five days in captivity.
"After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country," the network said in a statement.
While they were being moved on Monday evening to a new location, a gunfight broke out between their captors and members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a prominent Syrian rebel group in the area, leaving two gunmen dead.
Engel and the rest of the NBC News team in Syria were kidnapped shortly after crossing into the country’s war-ravaged northwest region, from Turkey on Thursday.
After being abducted, the team was blindfolded and believed to be taken to the small town of Ma'arrat Misrin.
The network said it had not heard from the captured news team since their disappearance and that no claim of responsibility or ransom demand had been made.
The Swedish Institute of International Affairs said in September that Ahrar al-Sham is one of the most extreme salafi groups fighting in Syria's civil war and includes many non-Syrians among its members.
NBC News said it "expressed its gratitude to those who worked to gather information and secure the release of our colleagues".
One of the only Western journalists to cover the entire war in Iraq, Engel was named chief foreign correspondent of NBC News in April 2008.