Here is the answer: Curtis family said the government of Qatar was involved in the release, which was carried out on a humanitarian basis without ransom. The family believes the 45-year-old Curtis was captured shortly after he crossed into Syria in October 2012. What prompted Curtis’ release is unclear. However, the United Nations said it helped with the handover to U.N. peacekeepers in a village in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights and that Curtis was released to American authorities after a medical checkup. This is a very good news overall!