Richard Engel and two members of his crew, Ghazi Balkiz and John Kooistra, appeared on the "Today" show Tuesday morning to discuss their "traumatizing" experience as captives of what they believed were government militia loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. Looking unshaven and tired but otherwise remarkably composed, Engel still held bandages made from bed sheets during his captivity. Engel said he feared execution every time he and his crew were blindfolded and moved.
We weren’t physically beaten or tortured. It was a lot of psychological torture -- threats of being killed. They made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused there were mock shootings. They pretended to shoot [NBC producer Balkiz] several times.
Engel also witnessed a firefight -- a confrontation between his captors and Syrian rebels manning a checkpoint -- that led to his freedom and the death of two of his captors.
"While we're obviously very happy, there are people who are still not at liberty to do this kind of thing. There are still hostages and there are still people who don't have their freedom inside Syria and we wish them well," Engel added.
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