Lebanon’s general security chief Abbas Ibrahim announced on Friday the release of Canadian citizen Kristian Lee Baxter who was held in Syria last year.
The Canadian citizen appeared at a news conference in Beirut with Ibrahim.
“I thought I would be there forever,” said Baxter.
“I didn’t know if anyone knew if I was alive,” added Baxter, struggling to speak as he choked back tears while sitting alongside Canada’s ambassador to Lebanon and the Lebanese security chief.
Baxter, wearing a grey t-shirt, was detained while travelling in Syria last year, though it was not clear what he was doing there and the Canadian ambassador Emmanuelle Lamoureux said she could not give any details about the case.
Baxter thanked both the Canadian embassy and the Lebanese authorities for helping him get out of Syria.
Lamoureux thanked Lebanese security chief Abbas Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said Baxter had been detained for reasons related to breaking Syrian law.
“I thought I would be there forever,” Baxter said.
“I didn’t know if anyone knew if I was alive,” he added, and then began to sobs.
It was unclear what Baxter was doing in Syria at the time of his detention.
Sam Goodwin, the US citizen freed last month, had been travelling in Syria without a visa.
Several Western citizens have been held in Syria since the civil war began there in 2011, including some by extremist groups such as ISIS.
The United States has said it believes US journalist Austin Tice, who has been held in Syria since 2012, is alive and Washington has sought the help of the Syrian government’s ally Russia to free him.
Last year the family of another American, Majd Kamalmaz, told the New York Times that he had disappeared at a government checkpoint in Damascus in 2017.
Lebanon secures release of American citizen from SyriaSyrian authorities have released a US citizen and he has been handed back to his family, thanks to the mediation of Lebanon, a Lebanese security ... Middle East
Explosions rock Turkish ammunition depot near SyriaA series of explosions rocked an ammunition depot in Turkey's Hatay province, near the Syrian border, early on Friday and nearby homes were evacuated ... Middle East
UN envoy regrets collapse of ceasefire in northwest SyriaThe United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen on Thursday regretted the collapse of a ceasefire in the northwest, saying that fresh ... Middle East