Kidnapped in Syria: One Journalist’s Story of Survival

war syria


Just months ago, Richard Engel, an NBC News correspondent, and his crew were kidnapped by the hellacious shabiha militia in Syria. Enduring days of  brutal treatment, Engel fought panic and festering thoughts of torture and death. In the end, it was his will to survive that kept him calm and lucid through this horrific event.


The commander was waiting for us by the side of the road, just as he had promised. His name was Abdelrazaq, and he was clean-shaven and had bright eyes that made him look intelligent. He smoked a cigarette and didn’t let on if he was annoyed that we were an hour late. We’d gotten lost on the way, but didn’t tell him that.

I was on assignment for NBC News, and my team and I were on the Syrian side of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, one of the main access points between Syria and Turkey.

Abdelrazaq lifted our bags into his car. Boys scurried about, looking to carry luggage for tips. Men shouldered 50-pound sacks of fertilizer. The rebels mix fertilizer with sugar and pack it into propane tanks to make bombs that can knock the tracks off a Syrian tank or tear up government patrols. The rebels have used so much fertilizer that it is hard to find in Syria. It has to be carried in from Turkey, along with just about everything else. Guns and money and walkie-talkies and spies go one way across the two miles of no-man’s-land separating Syria from Turkey; the wounded and refugees go the other. The border crossing at Bab al-Hawa is the umbilical cord to the revolution…Continue Reading


kristin kowlackyABOUT THE CURATOR

Kristin Kownacky is a junior at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, where she is currently working towards a BA in journalism and international studies. It is her dream to travel the world, discovering hidden treasures and writing about each experience. Read her articles on her personal blog, Depart We Now.


Photo by – Bernard Bujold

seven mile miracle oahu
The Culture-ist