Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018

Parents of an American journalist missing in Syria await fate with optimism

BEIRUT – The parents of US journalist Austin Tice, who went missing in Syria in 2012, said on Tuesday that they hoped the Trump administration would work to release their son, just like Americans detained in North Korea.

Marc and Debra Tice told reporters in Beirut that they had met with US officials, including President Donald Trump, and that they "all committed to doing their best to bring Austin home at all times. security".

Marc Tice said that he was aware of 17 Americans that the administration had brought back from captivity or detention.

Austin Tice, of Houston, Texas, disappeared on August 14, 2012 at a checkpoint in a disputed area west of Damascus shortly after his 31st birthday. A video released a month later shows him being bandaged and held by gunmen, saying, "Oh, Jesus." He has not heard from him since.

His parents said they had recently applied for visas to go to Damascus, the Syrian capital, to appeal his release, but that these visas had not yet been issued.

"We are incredibly encouraged and we have spent many hours, many days, meeting with all senior US government officials since the President, for several months," said Marc Tice.

Debra Tice said that they had recently been contacted by a number of credible people who "shared information about Austin," but she declined to say.

Their comments came two weeks after the US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, said that Tice would be alive and held hostage in Syria. He did not say why the officials believe him or who might hold him back.

In April, the federal authorities offered for the first time a reward of up to $ 1 million for information leading to Tice, a former Navy member who reported for The Washington Post, McClatchy Newspapers, CBS and others.

It is not known which entity holds it, and no ransom demand has ever been made. An FBI poster published this year urges people to report any information that may lead to its location, recovery or return. The White House envoy for the hostages, Robert O'Brien, said last month that the administration was working to bring him home.

"What the President has communicated to us is an absolute commitment to work very hard to bring Austin home safely," said Marc Tice.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.


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