U.S. Journalist Held by Al-Qaida Affiliate Since 2012 Freed in Syria

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 24 2014 3:05 PM

U.S. Journalist Held by Al-Qaida Affiliate Since 2012 Freed in Syria

A U.S. journalist kidnapped almost two years ago was freed in Syria Sunday and handed over to a United Nations representative. The release of Peter Theo Curtis was first reported by Al Jazeera, which says Qatar played a key role in obtaining his release mere days after ISIS beheaded James Foley. Reuters also reports that Qatar was instrumental in obtaining the release. “Qatari intelligence agencies were behind the release of the American journalist in Syria. Qatar, like many countries, looks to free those in captive for humanitarian reasons,” the Reuters source said. Curtis was captured along the Syria-Turkey border in October 2012 and was held by the Nusra Front, details the New York Times. The Nusra Front split from ISIS over “ideological and tactical differences,” notes the Times.

Curtis was held alongside photojournalist Matthew Schrier, who was captured and kept prisoner for seven months before he managed to escape in July 2013. Schrier and Curtis actually planned to escape together, but only Schrier managed to make it out of the cell. Curtis’ family had requested news organizations not report his name when they wrote about Schrier’s experiences. “Particularly after a week marked by unspeakable tragedy, we are all relieved and grateful knowing that Theo Curtis is coming home after so much time held in the clutches of Jabhat Al-Nusra," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement, according to CNN. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Curtis is safe and outside of Syria, reports the Associated Press.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 7:13 PM Deadly Advice When it comes to Ebola, ignore American public opinion: It’s ignorant and misinformed about the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville 
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.