Canadian finally freed from Syria

CNN's Paula Newton and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.CNN's Paula Newton and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

"I thought I was going to be there forever," Kristian Baxter said, as he sat next to Lebanon's security chief Abbas Ibrahim and Canadian ambassador Emmanuelle Lamoureux.

"Thank you for helping me get free," he said as he shook Ibrahim's hand. "I didn't know if anyone knew I was alive," Baxter added, breaking down in tears.

Baxter was held in Syria "for violating Syrian laws," Ibrahim said at the press conference, adding that it was Lebanon's mediation efforts that "reduced his detention."

"We are very relieved that Mr. Kristian Baxter has been released from Syria," the Canadian government said Friday.

"Canadian consular officials have been actively engaged throughout this case and continue to provide consular services to Mr. Baxter and his family," it said. "Due to provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed."

The Canadian government also expressed appreciation to Lebanon for its assistance in the case.

Previous reporting by The Canadian Press news agency cites Baxter's mother as saying she last heard from him on December 1, 2018.

She described him at the time as a "world traveler and adventurer," according to The Canadian Press report.

No additional information was immediately available.

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