The United States had held direct conversations with the Syrian regime to obtain the release of jailed American journalist Austin Tice, the State Department said on Monday.
According to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the United States has “personally engaged Syrian officials to facilitate Austin’s return to his family,” who has been held captive in Syria for a decade.
Stating that “we will seek every chance to engage if we believe it has the potential to bring Austin back home,” Price declined to comment on the specifics of the US engagement, including the extent of the activities.
While covering the country’s civil war as a freelance journalist for numerous US news outlets, Tice was kidnapped on August 14, 2012, near Damascus.
A video shows Tice, on September 26, 2012, about six weeks after his kidnapping, blindfolded and detained by an unnamed gang of armed men emerged. No party has claimed responsibility for his abduction yet.
US President Joe Biden stated on August 10 that the United States is “confident” that Tice is being held by the Syrian regime.
He stated, “On the tenth anniversary of his kidnapping, I am urging Syria to help us bring him home. The recovery and return of Americans kidnapped as hostages or unjustly detained abroad is my administration’s highest priority.”