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NBC's Richard Engel escapes kidnapping in Syria

NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel (center) is seen in this undated file photo.

December 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
NBC's chief foreign correspondent is safe after being held captive in Syria for five days.

Richard Engel and his production team arrived in Turkey Tuesday after escaping a harrowing gun battle Monday at a rebel checkpoint. Two of his kidnappers were killed.

He says he and his colleagues were kept bound, blindfolded and were put through psychological torture.

"They made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused, there were mock shootings," he said.

The group was not physically tortured, according to Engel.

Engel says he believes the kidnappers were a Shiite militia group loyal to the Syrian government. Engel said he was told the kidnappers wanted to perform a trade off; Engel and his group would be exchanged for four Iranian and two Lebanese prisoners being held by rebels.

"They captured us in order to carry out this exchange," he said.

Engel started his career with NBC in 2003 and was named chief foreign correspondent five years later.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.