Biden says US knows for sure Syria captured American journalist Austin Tice

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President Biden on Wednesday called on Syria to release American journalist and veteran Austin Tice, saying the US government knows “for sure” he is being held by the Syrian regime.

Tice, a US Marine Corps veteran and native of Houston, Texas, traveled to Syria in May 2012 as a freelance journalist before his final year at Georgetown Law School. He was abducted in August 2012 at a checkpoint west of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

“We know for sure that they are being held by the Syrian regime,” Biden said Wednesday. “We have repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us to bring Austin home. On the tenth anniversary of his abduction, I am calling on Syria to end this and help bring him home.”

In this image, taken from an undated video posted to YouTube, Austin Tice, an American freelance journalist who was reporting for American news organizations in Syria until his disappearance in August 2012, blindfolded and prays in Arabic and English in front of gunmen.
(AP Photo, File)

A 43-second video surfaced online about five weeks after Tice was captured by what his family described as an “unusual group of apparent jihadists.”

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Tice, who was blindfolded, muttered, “Oh Jesus,” several times. He has not been heard from since.

“The Tice family deserves answers, and more importantly, they deserve to be reunited with Austin as soon as possible,” Biden said Wednesday. “We stand with Austin’s many loved ones and we will not rest until we bring Austin home.”

Debra Tice, mother of US journalist Austin Tice, reacts after a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon.

Debra Tice, mother of US journalist Austin Tice, reacts after a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon.
(Reuters/Mohammed Azakir)

Tice’s parents have urged the Biden administration to engage diplomatically with the Syrian government for their son’s release.

“He’s just a wonderful person,” his mother, Debra Tice, told “Fox & Friends First” in May. “An Eagle Scout, a veteran, a captain in the United States Marine Corps, a graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, and his favorite thing in the whole world is being the oldest of our seven children.”

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Syria has denied holding him, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday urged Syria to “acknowledge the detention of all US citizens held in Austin and Syria.”

“Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will continue to engage with the Syrian government in close coordination with the White House, the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell and our team at the State Department,” Blinken said.

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