The title of an ABC News article released on December 18, 2012 is “Kidnapped NBC Correspondent Richard Engel Believed He’d Be Traded for IRANIAN Agents” (Web-site/URL: http://abcnews.go.com/International/kidnapped-nbc-correspondent-richard-engel-believed-hed-traded/story?id=18003786#.UNH1C-SnJ0p).
“Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent at NBC News who was released with his crew after five days in captivity in Syria, said he believes that he and his team were going to be exchanged by their captors for four IRANIAN agents and two LEBANESE citizens”. Again, a significant proportion of Lebanese are loyal to Assad even though it is supposedly a “parliamentary democracy” (Web-site/URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon#Government_and_politics).
“Speaking on the “Today” show this morning (December 18, 2012) shortly after he and the crew were delivered over the Syrian border to Turkey, Engel said he has a “VERY GOOD IDEA” who his captors were”.
“This was the Shabiha. This is a GOVERNMENT militia. They are loyal to Bashar al-Assad, they are Shiite. They were talking OPENLY about their loyalty to the government. They were OPENLY expressing their Shia faith. They are trained by IRANIAN revolutionary guards. They are trained by Hezbellah”, a terrorist group/organization.
“Freelance journalist Austin Tice, 31, a student at Georgetown University Law School and a former Marine, has been missing since August (2012). He’d traveled to Syria for several months to report on the uprising and had filed for the Washington Post, the McClatchy newspaper group and several other media outlets”.
“A video appeared online in October (2012) of Tice being led up a hill by those who appear to be his captors. His parents told ABC News recently that they WOULD NOT give up searching for him“, a statement of DETERMINATION amid INDESCRIBABLE GRIEF/HORROR.
According to his mother, Debra Tice, “WE WILL see him home“, another statement of DETERMINATION.
According to his father, Marc Tice, “NO parents, NO family, should see their son, their child, their sibling, in those circumstances“. Tice’s dad surely seems to be more DISTRAUGHT.
“Speaking on “Today” this morning (December 18, 2012), Engel recounted Thursday’s (December 13, 2012) ambush”. “We were driving in Syria in what WE THOUGHT was a REBEL-controlled area. We were with some of the rebels. And as we were driving down the road, a group of gunmen literally JUMPED OUT OF THE BUSHES“. This is FRIGHTENING. “About 15 gunmen. They were HEAVILY ARMED and they DRAGGED US out of the car. They EXECUTED one of [the rebels] on the spot”. This was BRUTAL.
“Engel and his crew were then transported to an unknown location, which is now believed to be near the town of Ma’arrat Misrin, about 30 miles southwest of Aleppo”. “They took us to a series of safe houses and interrogation places and they kept us BLINDFOLDED and BOUND. We WEREN’T BEATEN or PHYSICALLY TORTURED“. It was still BRUTAL. “There was a lot of PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE, THREATS of being killed“. “psychological torture” is often WORSE than PHYSICAL “torture”. “They made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused, there were MOCK SHOOTINGS” again intended to FRIGHTEN Engel and people like him.
“Engel and his crew were being transported Monday (December 17, 2012) when the vehicle in which they were travelling came upon a checkpoint manned by members of the Syrian rebel group the Ahrar al-Sham brigade. A firefight ensued and two of the captors were killed, while an unknown number of others escaped, the network said”.
“The kidnappers saw this checkpoint and started gunfire with it. We climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us. We spent the night with them; we didn’t get much sleep and they took us here [to Turkey]” to relative safety, although we know there are some Assad loyalists in Turkey as well.
Finally, “The network “expressed its gratitude to those who worked to gather information and secure the release of our colleagues“.
This is the latest incident of a foreign journalist being targeted in Syria, truly another HARROWING ordeal. WE ARE ALL BREATHING A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.