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Richard Engel, NBC News team were released on Monday after five days of detention.

Richard Engel, NBC News team freed in Syria

Richard Engel and Nbc team on report
An American journalist Richard Engel television and his team kidnapped in Syria five days ago were released on Tuesday announced their employer, NBC News.

"After being kidnapped and held for five days in Syria by an unknown group, Richard Engel, reporter, and his team have been released unharmed," NBC News said Tuesday in a statement. "We are pleased to say that he was able to leave the country."

Richard Engel, age 39, had his team crossed the border with Turkey into Syria last Thursday before being abducted, tied up. Blindfolded, they were transported by their captors to a place probably near the town of Ma'arrat Misrin, NBC said.

American journalist Richard Engel, who was abducted with his team for five days in Syria, said Tuesday that his former captors were pro-Assad militiamen. 

"It was a group known as the shabiha. This is a government militia. They are loyal to President Bashar al-Assad," said Mr. Engel at NBC News in his first interview since his release Monday. He said his captors threatened to execute as well as other members of his team.

The shabiha are a pro-government paramilitary force accused of carrying out a massacre of civilians since the war began 21 months ago, which killed more than 43,000 people according to the OSDH.

Richard Engel, former AFP, said he had not abused but "a lot of psychological torture." "They asked us to choose who would be the first to be executed. When we refused to answer, they fired into the air. It was a traumatic experience," he added. 

Richard Engel has also indicated that his former captors were trained in Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah allies. According to the reporter of NBC, the militia wanted to share as well as his team against four Iranian agents, two Lebanese Amal movement members and other individuals abducted by Syrian rebel.

"They would take us to a Hezbollah stronghold in Syria. Way we were when we came across a roadblock manned by the rebels. There were exchanges of gunfire and two pro-Assad militiamen were killed," he said.
Other kidnappers managed to escape, and found themselves hostages free unharmed. They are pressed in Turkey on Tuesday morning.

Syrian rebels Ahrar Brigades al-Sham indicated their side Tuesday in a statement it had "released yesterday evening five foreign journalists who were detained by an armed gang in connection with the regime," citing the names of Mr. Engel and four other: a Turk, a Jordanian / British, one American and one German / Syrian.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH) has for his part in a statement that there had been a "shootout" between combatants Ahrar Brigades al-Sham manning a checkpoint at the western Ma'arrat Misrin and a group of gunmen in the car. "The gunmen fled and abandoned the vehicle in which journalists have been discovered," said the OSDH, which states that "pro-regime gunmen are responsible for the abduction."

Ahrar al-Sham is a Salafist group, notes Reuters, which is fighting for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Syria and opposes pluralistic democracy. He did not show hostility to Western journalists so far.

NBC Reporter, Richard Engel went missing in Syria

Richard Engel, NBC Reporter missing in Syria
Contradictory information had circulated in the past 24 hours, about the fate of American journalist before NBC announces its release.

Turkish and Western media had announced that he was missing while the American chain refused to comment on this story.

Richard Engel is a war correspondent who has received several awards for his work in the Middle East, especially for its coverage of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two foreign journalists are missing in Syria. The Palestinian-Jordanian Bashar al-Fahmi Kadumi, the Arab television Al-Hurra U.S. capital has disappeared in Aleppo (north) on August 20. Austin American freelance journalist Tice disappeared Aug. 13 in the suburbs of Damascus. Last November, Mark and Debra, Austin Tice parents, held a press conference at Press Club in Beirut , to ask influential parties to work for his release.
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