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Turkey

NBC News Correspondent Richard Engel And Team Freed From Syrian Captors

NBC NEWS(USA)

Worldcrunch

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.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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