US says American held in Syria has been freed

WASHINGTON (AP) — An American journalist kidnapped and held hostage for nearly two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria is free.

He was released Sunday, less than a week after the horrific execution of American journalist James Foley by Islamic militants.

The freed American is 45-year-old Peter Theo Curtis of Massachusetts, who wrote under the byline Theo Padnos.

Secretary of State John Kerry says Curtis was held by the Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-linked militant group fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. His freedom was facilitated by the Gulf nation of Qatar, which has been involved in mediating past hostage releases.

Curtis was not believed to be among the hostages held by the Islamic State group that executed Foley.

Curtis' relatives say they are not aware of the specific terms of his release but say they were assured by Qatari representatives that they negotiated Curtis' release without a ransom payment.

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