Speed Reads


Islamist militants release captive U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis in Syria

On Sunday, the Nusra Front, an affiliate of al Qaeda, released U.S. freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis, handing him over to United Nations personnel at the Israel-Syria border. Curtis, 45, was abducted in Antakya, Turkey, in October 2012 as he was preparing to cross into Syria.

Curtis' family asked Qatar to act as intermediaries, and said they were assured no ransom was paid to the Nusra Front, that the emirate was negotiating his release "on a humanitarian basis without the payment of money." It's not clear what other concessions were made.

The Curtis family reached out to Qatar through U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. U.S. officials say there is no known connection between Theo Curtis' release and last week's murder of U.S. journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Nusra Front broke off a yearlong alliance with ISIS earlier this year, after al Qaeda disavowed ISIS, reportedly because it is too violent.