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NBC Correspondent Escapes Kidnapping In Syria

A correspondent for a U.S. television network has been freed after five days in captivity in Syria.

NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel said he was freed after a firefight between his pro-regime captors and Syrian rebels.

Engel and several colleagues went missing on December 13 soon after crossing over into Syria from Turkey.

NBC says it was only able to contact them after they escaped on December 17. The television network said there was no claim of responsibility and no request for ransom.

Speaking to NBC's "Today" show on December 18, Engel said his kidnapers were from the Shabiha militia.

They threatened Engel and his colleagues with mock executions.

Shabiha -- a plainclothes Shi'ite group loyal to the Syrian government -- has in the past been accused of several massacres.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP