Freed American hostage Peter Theo Curtis has spoken for the first time since his release in a press conference Wednesday.
Standing outside his mother's Cambridge, Mass., home, Curtis expressed gratitude for the American people who supported him and called for his release.
"I have learned, bit by bit, that there have been literally hundreds of people — brave, determined and big-hearted people all over the world — working for my release," he said. "I had no idea, when I was in prison, I had no idea that so much effort was being expended on my behalf."
"Total strangers have been coming up to me and saying, 'Hey, we're just glad you're home. Welcome home. Glad you're back, glad you're safe,'" he added. "I remember how good the American people are and what goodness they have in their hearts. And to all those people, I say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The 45-year-old American journalist had spent two years in captivity, held by Syrian extremist group and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. He was released Sunday, and flew from Tel Aviv, Israel, to the United States Tuesday.
Though he did not address the details of his captivity and said he would not take further questions, he asked for time to bond with his family.
"I'm one of you and I know what you're going through," he said to the dozens of reporters outside his home. "I will answer your questions — but I can't do it now."