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« FBI Using Warrantless GPS To Track U.S. Citizens | Main | Holder's SECRET Power Grab Threatens Constitution »
Tuesday
Dec182012

NBC's Richard Engel Escapes From Syrian Kidnappers: 'We Thought We Were Dead'

"They made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused, there were mock shootings."

Richard Engel and team recount details of their kidnapping and 5 days in captivity after escaping to safety in Turkey late last night.  Today Show this morning.

"And as we were moving along the road, the kidnappers came across a rebel checkpoint, something they hadn't expected.  We were in the back of what you would think of as a minivan.  The kidnappers saw this checkpoint and started a gunfight with it.  Two of the kidnappers were killed.  We climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us.  We spent the night with them."

---

NBC video in case the above Youtube version gets pulled:

BEIRUT (AP) -- NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel said he and his television crew were kidnapped for five days by pro-regime gunmen who subjected them to mock executions and kept them bound and blindfolded. They escaped during a firefight between their captors and rebels and reached Turkey on Tuesday.

Speaking to NBC's "Today" show one day after the escape, an unshaven Engel said the kidnappers executed at least one of his rebel escorts on the spot at the time he was captured. He also said he believes the kidnappers were a Shiite militia group loyal to the Syrian government, which is fighting a deadly civil war against rebels.

"They kept us blindfolded, bound," said 39-year-old Engel, who speaks and reads Arabic. "We weren't physically beaten or tortured. A lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed. They made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused, there were mock shootings," he added.

"They were talking openly about their loyalty to the government," Engel said. He said the captors were trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and allied with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group.

Engel said he was told the kidnappers wanted to exchange him and his crew for four Iranian and two Lebanese prisoners being held by the rebels.

"They captured us in order to carry out this exchange," he said.

Around 11 p.m. Monday, Engel said he and the others were being moved to another location in northern Idlib province.

"And as we were moving along the road, the kidnappers came across a rebel checkpoint, something they hadn't expected.  We were in the back of what you would think of as a minivan.  The kidnappers saw this checkpoint and started a gunfight with it.  Two of the kidnappers were killed.  We climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us.  We spent the night with them."

Engel and his crew crossed back into neighboring Turkey earlier Tuesday.

The Syrian government has barred most foreign media coverage of the civil war in Syria, which has killed more than 40,000 people since the uprising began in March 2011. Those journalists whom the regime has allowed in are tightly controlled in their movements by Information Ministry minders. Many foreign journalists sneak into Syria illegally with the help of smugglers.

Several journalists have been killed covering the conflict. Among them are award-winning French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier, photographer Remi Ochlik and Britain's Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin. Also, Anthony Shadid, a correspondent for The New York Times, died after an apparent asthma attack while on assignment in Syria.

 

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Reader Comments (3)

How do we know these were "pro-regime" gunmen? Because they said so? Why would Assad do something guaranteed to alienate the media and provide more grist for the war propaganda mill? The common-sense answer is that he wouldn't, and these were FSA pulling a publicity stunt not knowing the "escape" might result in their being shot at.
Dec 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Rivero
Mike

It's all a guess at this point, but my thought was that this was a pro-Assad group acting independently of the government, with their own agenda. No way that Assad would ever sanction something so stupid.
Dec 18, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Since you have mentioned dying, I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Robert Bork.

He was a brilliant man and a Constitutionalist.


I am only glad that he was not confirmed, because that means Obama would be replacing

him, very soon.
Dec 19, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBackgammon

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