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Austin Tice: Who is the American journalist believed to be held captive in Syria?

Austin Tice: Who is the American journalist believed to be held captive in Syria?
“Every day without Austin brings renewed pain. Every time our family gets together, there’s a void where Austin should be,” parents say

US journalist Austin Tice disappeared in シリア ten years ago as the country collapsed into civil war.

Mr Tice has long been thought to have been captured by President Bashar al-Assad’s government – しかしに 17 August the country’s foreign ministry denied holding him captive.

Here’s what we know about the case:

Who is Austin Tice?

Mr Tice is a former US Marine from ヒューストン, テキサス.

He disappeared on 14 8月 2012, not long after his 31st birthday, at a Damascus checkpoint while freelancing for the US newspaper company McClatchy, ワシントンポスト and other outlets.

当時の, he had been in the country for months, reporting on opposition rebels after anti-government sentiment lead to civil war.

A video appeared online shortly after his apparent capture seemingly showing a blindfolded Mr Tice walking while being held by armed men.

That was the last time he was seen.

If he remains alive today, the former Marine infantry officer, who was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, would be one of the Americans to spend the longest time in foreign captivity. He had his 41st birthday on 11 8月.

Syria denies holding Tice

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on 17 8月, in which they deny they “kidnapped” or are “holding any American citizen on its territories,」 独立者 報告.

“The US issued last week misleading and illogical statements by the American president and secretary of state that included baseless accusations against Syria that it had kidnapped or detained American citizens including former US Marine Austin Tice,」ステートメントが追加されました.

Biden ‘certain’ Syria captured journalist

先週, 大統領 ジョー・バイデン said that US intelligence knew “with certainty” that the reporter and former Marine had been held by Mr Assad’s government since his disappearance while reporting in the country in August 2012.

In a statement on the tenth anniversary of Mr Tice going missing, [object Window], “we know with certainty that he has been held by the Government of Syria”.

“We have repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us so that we can bring Austin home," 彼が追加した.

<p>In this Dec. 4, 2018, file photo Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, who is missing in Syria, speak during a press conference, at the Press Club, ベイルートで, Lebapon.</p>

In this Dec. 4, 2018, file photo Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, who is missing in Syria, speak during a press conference, at the Press Club, ベイルートで, レバノン.

The Syrian government said on Wednesday that “any official dialogue with the American government will only be public based on the respect of Syria’s sovereignty”.

その間, Mr Tice’s family have argued that the Biden administration hasn’t done enough to make Syria release him. There are diplomatic issues between the two countries, with formal relations between them having been shut down.

<p>Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, an American journalist who has been missing in Syria since August 2012, hold up photos of him during a new conference, at the Press Club, ベイルートで, レバノン, 7月 p0, 2017 </p>

Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, an American journalist who has been missing in Syria since August 2012, hold up photos of him during a new conference, at the Press Club, ベイルートで, レバノン, 7月 20, 2017

Recent progress

McClatchy, for which Mr Tice was freelancing at the time of his apparent capture, said this week that the attempts to free him, involving several countries, had been gaining momentum and that direct contact between the US and Syrian governments had taken place.

A McClatchy spokesperson said on 15 August that steps forward had been taken because of efforts by both the Biden administration and the journalism sector.

による ニューヨークタイムズ, McClatchy spokesperson Susan Firey said that “this anniversary was an opportunity to shine a light on Austin’s decade-long plight”.

"そして, in tandem, to shine a light on the decade-long inaction of three administrations," 彼女は付け加えた.

Parents Debra and Marc Tice wrote an Op-Ed in ワシントンポスト 先週, wrote about the large family events, such as weddings and graduations that have occurred since Mr Tice disappeared. They called on Mr Biden to expand diplomatic attempts to free him.

<p>Freelance journalist Austin Tice was reporting in Syria in 2012 when he disappeared </p>

Freelance journalist Austin Tice was reporting in Syria in 2012 when he disappeared

A senior Biden official told タイムズ that the US has “engaged extensively” with Syrian officials and third parties to free Mr Tice, but added that the Syrian government have yet to agree to discuss the issue.

Debra and Marc Tice met with Mr Biden at the White House on 2 五月. He instructed his national security aides to speak directly with the Syrian government, the parents wrote in ポスト.

The Lebanese head of security Abbas Ibrahim met with Biden officials and the CIA weeks after that meeting, according to the president of Hostage Aid Worldwide, Nizar Zakka. The group has been working with Mr Ibrahim and the US for two years to secure the release of Mr Tice.

The goal of that meeting was to locate avenues where progress with the Syrian government could be made. They have always tried to avoid answering questions about Mr Tice, Mr Zakka told タイムズ.

Debra and Marc Tice noted in their piece for ポスト that “the president was serving as vice president when Austin was abducted; he knows that in those early days the Syrians were eager for U.S. engagement in the case. いつ, に 2014, Debra spent 83 days in Damascus knocking on doors, making phone calls, doing everything possible to learn of Austin’s whereabouts, a senior member of the Syrian government 前記: ‘I will not meet with the mother. Send a United States government official of appropriate title’.”

<p>Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, who is missing in Syria, speak during a press conference, at the Press Club, ベイルートで, レバノン, 12月.p4, 2018.  </p>

Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, who is missing in Syria, speak during a press conference, at the Press Club, ベイルートで, レバノン, 12月. 4, 2018.

Embassies closed in 2012 そして 2014

The need for back channels and third parties in communications between the US and Syria stems from the lack of diplomatic relations. The US ended its presence in Damascus in 2012 when it closed its embassy – Syria shut the doors of its Washington, DC embassy two years later in 2014.

The US has put in place sanctions against officials in the Syrian government and military and on banks and businesses in the country because of human rights violations.

“We’re encouraged by recent news that the Biden administration has initiated direct outreach to the Syrians. We hope they choose to send ‘a government official of appropriate title’,” Debra and Marc Tice wrote in ポスト. “They should not be deterred by State Department concerns about high-level recognition of Bashar al-Assad. Officials at the highest levels of our government deal with controversial leaders every day. ちょうど先月, the president himself fist-bumped one of them.”

<p>Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fist bumps U.S. President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Al Salman Palace, ジェッダで, サウジアラビア, 7p 15, 2022</p>

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fist bumps U.S. President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Al Salman Palace, ジェッダで, サウジアラビア, 7月 15, 2022

“Every day without Austin brings renewed pain. Every time our family gets together, there’s a void where Austin should be,」両親は付け加えた.