From AP - News National/International -

US Journalist Thankful For Work To Secure Freedom

Peter Theo Curtis talks with reporters outside his mother's home in Cambridge, MA.

Peter Theo Curtis smiles as he talks with reporters outside his mother's home in Cambridge, Mass., on Wednesday. (Charles Krupa/AP)

A U.S. journalist says he is overwhelmed to learn of the efforts that went into securing his release from a Syrian extremist group.

Peter Theo Curtis made his first public remarks Wednesday outside his mother's home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after being freed three days earlier.
 
Curtis says he had no idea during his time in captivity that so many "brave, determined and big-hearted people'' were working for his release.

He says he is also grateful for the many people who have welcomed him back since his return.
 
The 45-year-old writer was released by al-Nusra Front, a Sunni extremist group.  Curtis returned to the United States on Tuesday and was reunited with his family.

He disappeared in 2012 and was freed by the Al-Qaida unit operating in Syria.

Curtis was handed over to United Nations peace keepers just a week after another extremist group, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, beheaded American Journalist James Foley.

Curtis, 45, said he had no idea the kind of effort that was underway to get him back home. He said total strangers had come up to him and told him they were glad he was home.

"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 said.

Curtis did not take any questions. He said he would at another time but that now it was time to bond with his mother and his family.

Meanwhile, the mother of freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, who is still being held captive in Syria, issued a direct plea to the Islamic State.