Released US hostage 'overwhelmed' by welcome home

Curtis was captured in 2012 and held by the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria.

Peter Theo Curtis, an American journalist held for nearly two years by militants linked to Al-Qaeda in Syria. Picture: AFP.

WASHINGTON - An American writer released this week after nearly two years of captivity in Syria said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of attention he received after returning home, he told reporters on Wednesday.

Peter Theo Curtis (45) returned to the United States late Tuesday after being released on Sunday.

He was captured in 2012 and held by the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria and rivals to the militant group Islamic State.

"I am overwhelmed with emotion," he said, speaking for the first time publicly at a briefing outside his family's home in Massachusetts, adding that he needs to spend time with his family.

"I suddenly 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 you from ... the bottom of my heart," he added.

News of Curtis's release emerged just days after the militant group Islamic State posted a video on the Internet showing one of its fighters beheading American journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.

A senior UN official said the negotiations for Curtis's release were handled by the Qataris.