Freed Hostage Peter Theo Curtis 'Overwhelmed With Emotion'

The American journalist spoke out for the first time since his release from the Al-Qaeda group that held him for two years.
11:44 | 08/27/14

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Transcript for Freed Hostage Peter Theo Curtis 'Overwhelmed With Emotion'
Hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York -- back in his hometown of Cambridge Massachusetts. Peter -- Curtis will speak for the first time on US soil about his abduction. And release. For more on his release have won -- bring an ABC's -- deter ski in New York. -- Curtis was released over the weekend what can you tell us about how he was captured and -- was captured -- Well he was captured two years ago by the L -- for -- front the main al-Qaeda offshoot. In Syria and he was held captive with the other Americans and we only learned that he was being held captive after one of those. Fellow journalists escaped and confirmed that that PO Curtis was being held. He he's the author of a couple of nonfiction books was in Syria -- working on a project. Taken by almost -- front and and that may have been the best news about his captured that he was taken by by on the strip front and not by its. Offshoot -- the Islamic state militants in in Syria and Iraq who have shown a larger interest it seems in revenge. Over ransom now officially -- US government did not pay any ransom. For Curtis is release which was arranged through the qatari -- we know that -- Files money department showed shovels money toward the on the for front anyway so it's a little bit -- in a little bit sketchy -- terms of his release. But nonetheless he was put on a flight from Tel Aviv to Newark and then arrived in Boston overnight. To the obvious relief of his family. Yes and we were showing some photos of his arrival -- that new work as well as of Boston Logan with next alongside with his mom Nancy can you give us a few more details about. How this release was negotiated. Well it really sped up the negotiations really sped up after the of them of -- will be heading -- James Foley. And after that the family if that -- Curtis had reached out to the qatari east to try and get some of the negotiations -- kick started a little bit more. And then just days later came news that he was to be turned over to UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights and then finally made his way toward. US government officials believed to be in Israel and he was debriefed in Tel Aviv before being flown over to Newark and then to Boston. Facility he was in a number of different hands and and the officials are undoubtedly going to want to know the terms of his captivity how he was treated. Who he spoke to what they said. But for now -- though the main thing and what we expect to hear from Theo Curtis is gratitude he released a brief statement. Saying that he he thanked the qatari is the US government officials involved in his release and in those negotiations and I think that's what you're going to hear reflected in his upcoming statement. And as you mentioned -- stark contrast to that the heading of James Foley. And he said that the negotiations were stepped up after that and and we don't know. How many Americans might be held there and many times these families do not want their identity out. And known publicly and are working behind the scenes give us an idea about you know since the government says it's not paying -- ransom. About this group and how it might be different from -- even though it is also considered. A brutal group -- stop. -- -- it's a complicated mix of of militants that are operating now in in Syria the on this -- front -- al-Qaeda is. Main offshoot so a Sunni extremist group that is against the government of Bashar Al Assad. Ice this is. Seemingly more militants spin off of that. Brutally we're learning now. Executing people in the streets forcing children to watch as they take control of different pockets of of Syrian territory we know they spread into Iraq we know that the United States government. Has now authorized surveillance flights are possible precursor to air strikes and and it was to be heading -- team's -- leave it really seems to -- could Americans up. The seriousness of the threat that ice is poses directly to Americans and -- the United States. The -- -- -- front is. Is still a threat as well but but but. It's seemingly at least and more interest did it in in money. Four for an exchange for for kidnap victims rather than just this revenge that we saw extracted on James Foley. And give us an idea about. Curtis is journey. You said that he had got flown back here -- Tel Aviv and then through new work. With his family also waiting. We spoke to his mother Nancy and and she told our -- robot that she was obviously relieved that he. Talked about drinking beer and seeing women. Things that were apparently absent from his two years in captivity and and he sounded like himself his mother told us it and then he himself released a statement. Upon his freedom to to thank everybody -- it is especially the qatari who negotiated his release would be mr. front. I -- the American government officials who who were involved as well and finally arriving home in Boston where there's been a crowd outside of the family home. Curtis himself lived in Vermont and that's where he did most of -- writing. And who may be -- reveal what exactly he was in Syria working on but after -- -- a couple of nonfiction books. But he he had been in Syria they're working now home in in Boston with his family. And and you could just see the relief we we saw those pictures of his mother upon their reunion at Boston's Logan Airport. And the smile as she was just able to it -- to clutch him. Any mother what would undoubtedly feel the -- Absolutely and we're looking at a live picture now where we're expecting. Peter -- Curtis to come out and make a statement that is -- course in Cambridge Massachusetts. Let's talk about a little bit more background here what do you think and what have you heard about how the US government. Is. Working on behind the scenes for some of these other American hostages that may be held. Will be -- at least one to a -- six year old. -- woman who Stanley says what was taken. Captive -- and has been held after she was doing some humanitarian relief work in Syria. There were many a number of Americans who who join the relief after effort after years of conflict just toward Syria apart. And there were -- openings for humanitarian. Aid workers to get in one of -- missed 26 year old American woman apparently taken. And being held now we don't know the status of of her health or safety her well being or whether there -- any active negotiations. For her release we know that when Americans are captured some top -- the ransom demand is three million sometimes it's as high as 25 million. -- officially -- US government's not going to pay but the US is certainly seemed willing to two to use intermediaries whether they be the qatari as the kuwaitis. UN forces we we know were involved in the Golan Heights that's ultimately -- the transfer of Peter Theo Curtis took place up enough and that for part of Syria. So that that the status these Americans isn't known and and and given that the that the mixed blessings that we've seen. In the cases of Curtis and and have been if James Foley their ultimate status isn't known either -- sewing and only fueling the -- of their families. And we're watching one of those stories of relief plane out right now we've got Curtis walking now where is expected to give a statement once again. He is at his home in Cambridge Massachusetts that is where he returned to his mother's home. And he looks. Like he's very happy he smiling and he's also -- piece of paper where is expected to give a statement let's listen. First -- -- -- you all for coming out here this beautiful Wednesday morning. -- In the days following my release on Sunday. I have learned bit by bit that have been literally hundreds of people. Brave determined and big hearted people all over the world. Working for my release they've been working for two years on this. I had no idea when I was in prison I had no idea that so much effort was being. Expended on my behalf. -- and I haven't found out -- -- just overwhelmed with emotion. I'm also overwhelmed by one of the things that is a total strangers coming up to me and saying hey we're just glad you're home welcome home. Thank you back legacy. Great to see you. So I certainly remember how good the American people are and what kindness they have in their hearts and to all those people I say a huge thank -- From my heart and bottom of my heart. I am so grateful that you are expressing office in just -- name. At the same time I have to bond -- my mother and my family now and and I can't give you an interview and I can't give you. Talking back and -- if you tell us what it feels us. -- -- can save you but in the future I promise no response your emails and I will be present and I will help you guys do your job. And I'm when you and I know you guys -- gone through so I want a lot of the guys and I will be there and I were stunned -- can't do it now. -- -- -- We welcome back welcome back. And you've been listening to Peter BO Curtis. Giving -- statement outside his mother's home in Cambridge Massachusetts where he. Thanked America he thinks his fellow journalist -- now he just needs some privacy to bond with his mom. And we want to go back to Aaron and get a little perspective on that what did you think parent. Well it -- -- looks no worse for Wear. Clearly still overwhelmed by his circumstances and and the outpouring. You heard him say the total strangers have come up to him to say that. Hey welcome back -- your home safety he was touched he said by the of the generosity of spirit that he has encountered at home in Cambridge Massachusetts and -- also said that he's not going to answer questions right now which. For a journalist is is an odd. -- in a position to be an undoubtedly but he said he understands that that the curiosity and his story and he says he will respond but he wants to. To bond. Now with his Stanley. It it has to be be the ultimate fear of of anyone working in a conflict zone. Two to perhaps be in in Curtis is -- situation. -- and so we undoubtedly want to know what did he go through. Who was he how was he taken what -- the circumstances. What is his story and we've heard from other journalists. You know David Rhodes formerly the New York Times now -- Reuters wrote wrote a book about his captivity. -- Taliban hands and and what that was like and and maybe that's what Curtis is saving his story for us some. Longer narrative where we get to two to hear -- tale of his captivity and released for now though Michelle he said he only wants to to bond. With his family. And it also sounds like he's learning many of the details to you caricatures -- thank you. You can keep up with the story in real time by downloading the ABC news happens starring this story for exclusive updates on the go for now I'm Michelle Franzen any --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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