This is the video NBC News didn’t want you to see earlier this week:
It’s a YouTube video that showed reporter Richard Engel and his team in the custody of a pro-Syrian-government militia. NBC asked YouTube to take the video down, as it sought to crush any news of the kidnapping/detention for fear of Engel’s life. YouTube agreed.
NBC issued two statements today acknowledging that everyone is out of Syria, signalling the go-ahead to report the story.
Ian Rivers, NBC News technical support staff, has left Syria.
He got separated from the rest of Richard Engel’s production team in the midst of the firefight which resulted in the NBC team’s escape from captivity. Until now, Rivers’ whereabouts in Syria have been unknown.
Rivers is said to be in good condition and will be evaluated in Turkey.
Statement from NBC News President Steve Capus:
Now that Ian Rivers has been reunited with Richard Engel’s entire production team, all of us at NBC News can breathe a huge sigh of relief and express our deep appreciation to all who helped secure their freedom. At the same time, our thoughts and concerns are with those who remain missing inside Syria and we hope for their swift and safe release.
A Syrian opposition group didn’t wait, posting an interview with Engel recounting his team’s ordeal after crossing into Syria from Turkey…
We had with us one young guy from the revolutionaries, and after we arrived at the farm they executed him. I heard him shout…. I also heard someone was looking for gasoline. I think he also wanted to burn him, to set him on fire. But they didn’t have any gasoline.
After that, they moved us from house to house to house to house. Every day, they threatened us and every day we thought it was our last day. They didn’t let us go to the toilet. It was psychological torture. I went for 30 hours without the toilet, and that is not normal.
The New York Times translated the entire interview and Engel’s gripping account of his release from captivity, an account which makes it fairly clear he very easily could be dead.