Richard Engel and NBC News team freed from captors in Syria

NBC News foreign correspondent Richard Engel and his team have been freed and are safely out of Syria after being held for five days.

engelEngel said on the “Today” show that they were traveling with Syrian rebels when about 15 gunmen “jumped out the trees and bushes” and captured them.

“We weren’t physically beaten or tortured,” he said. “It was 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. They pretended to [producer] Ghazi [Balkiz] several times.”

NBC News reports:

Early Monday evening local time, the prisoners were being moved to a new location in a vehicle when their captors ran into a checkpoint manned by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group. There was a confrontation and a firefight ensued.

Two of the captors were killed, while an unknown number of others escaped, the network said. The NBC News crew was unharmed in the incident.

* Richard Engel and NBC News team freed from captors (
* How NBC News kept Richard Engel’s disappearance secret (
* Earlier: Engel is missing in Syria; NBC News enforces blackout (