NBC said in a statement that Engel, who went missing along with his crew on Thursday, was "freed from captors in Syria after a firefight at a checkpoint on Monday, five days after they were taken prisoner." The network did not identify the others who had been abducted with Engel.
"We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country," NBC added.
It remained unclear exactly who abducted Engel and the rest of his team. NBC said only that the captors "were not believed to be loyal to the Assad regime."
According to NBC, two of the captors were killed in the shootout at the checkpoint manned by a Syrian rebel group, the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, an Islamic Salafist group which operates across Syria, but has its strongest presence in the northern city of Idlib.
Several Western journalists have been detained by the increasingly isolated regime of President Bashar Assad, which has virtually banned independent reporting inside Syria. The journalists held by the regime have generally been set free in a matter of days. Others have been abducted and held briefly by armed militant groups fighting against Assad. The myriad rebel militias in Syria have vastly varying
One American journalist, freelance writer Austin Tice, remains missing after disappearing in mid-August. His parents visited Beirut, Lebanon in November, seeking information about their son, but said they still had not learned who was holding him or what condition he was in.
The U.S. government has said Assad's regime is likely holding the 31-year-old former Marine, who had been reporting on Syria's civil war for The Washington Post, McClatchy Newspapers and others.
Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent, has extensive history reporting on and living in the Middle East. He was reporting on the war from inside Syria when he was captured. His work has won him numerous awards, including five News & Documentary Emmys.
According to NBC, Engel speaks and reads fluent Arabic and can comfortably transition between several Arabic dialects spoken across the Arab world.