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Richard Engel Freed in Syria after 5 day kidnapping

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    NBC journalist Richard Engel, producer Aziz Akyavas and crew members John Kooistra and Ghazi Balkiz were kidnapped in Syria on December 13th, 2012 by a rogue rebel group. Engel and crew were in Syria covering rebel movements, travelling with some rebels of which some were armed. They were suddenly taken by force into a container group by some rogue kidnappers. One of the rebels that they were travelling with was killed on the spot.

    Engel and crew were then transported to a series of safe houses and interrogation spots where they were blindfolded and psychologically tortured for a total of five days. They were told that they were going to die, and made to chose which one of them it would be. Several times, the kidnappers pretended to kill one of the crew members by firing random, mock gun shots in the air.

    Finally, on the fifth day, as they were being transported to yet another location, the kidnappers were surprised by a checkpoint station run by the rebels. There was a disagreement at this checkpoint, shots were fired, a few kidnappers were kiled, and Engel and his crew escaped out of the back of the truck and joined with the rebels to safety. They stayed the night with them and were sent back to Turkey and out of danger.

    Wow. What a crazy story. Watching the NBC News video of Engel tell this story in brief and exacting detail, you can't help but be intrigued by these guys. They don't sensationalize the story. The just report the events. It's refreshing to see and be reminded that these type of honest reporters and journalists and crew are out doing what they think is right; reporting what can only be reported by being out in the field and in "the danger zones" of the world. And, on top of that, they are humble, respectable and genuine.

    Here's the short video of Engel telling his story, just hours after it happened. (They are still wearing the same clothes.)