ISTANBUL – NBC News' chief correspondent Richard Engel and members of his production team were freed from captors in Syria after a firefight at a checkpoint on Monday, NBC News said early Tuesday.
"After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country," the network said in a statement.
Monday evening local time, the prisoners were being moved to a new location in a vehicle when their captors ran into a checkpoint held by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group. There was a confrontation followed by a firefight.
The captors remain unidentified and are not believed to be loyal to the Assad regime, reports NBC News. Two of the captors died in the assault while an unknown number of others escaped.
None of the NBC team were harmed and they are reported to be in good health. They made their way to the border and re-entered Turkey Tuesday morning, according to the network.
The 39 year old reporter along with other employees disappeared shortly after crossing into Syria from Turkey on Thursday.
There has been no claim of responsibility from the captors and no request for ranson, the network says.
Richard Engel was named chief foreign correspondent of NBC News in April 2008. He is one of America's most respected war correspondents and covered several conflicts including Iraq and Libya.