State Division spokesman renews pledge to safe return of US journalist believed to be held by Syrian authorities.
The USA has “immediately engaged” with Syrian officers on the detention of US journalist Austin Tice, a spokesman for the US Division of State stated, because the Biden administration renewed its pledge to safe Tice’s protected return to the nation.
“We’ve engaged extensively, and that features immediately with Syrian officers and thru third events,” spokesman Ned Value instructed reporters on Monday afternoon, with out specifying what stage of US-Syrian state contact had been made.
“Sadly regardless of our calls, regardless of our engagement, regardless of the engagement of third events in different international locations, Syria has by no means acknowledged holding him. However we aren’t going to be deterred in our efforts,” Value stated.
“We’re going to pursue each avenue for securing Austin’s protected return to [his parents] Debra and Marc and to his complete household.”
US President Joe Biden stated final week that his administration knew with “certainty” that Tice, who was kidnapped within the Syrian capital Damascus in August 2012, was being held by Syria’s authorities.
“On the tenth anniversary of his abduction, I’m calling on Syria to finish this and assist us deliver him dwelling,” Biden stated in an announcement.
Syria has by no means acknowledged detaining Tice, who had reported for The Washington Put up and McClatchy newspapers, amongst different information retailers.
Other than a “proof of life video just a few weeks” after he disappeared, there was no official info on whether or not he’s alive or lifeless, his household has stated. However the 10-year anniversary of Tice’s disappearance has renewed stress on the Biden administration to safe his launch.
“Mr. Biden ought to immediately ask Syria’s chief for proof that Mr. Tice is alive. There was solely silence for too lengthy,” the Washington Put up’s editorial board wrote in an article final week, urging Syria to launch the journalist.
“Tice’s household deserve solutions, and so do the households of tens of hundreds of others who’ve been kidnapped, arbitrarily detained, and forcibly disappeared by the Syrian authorities, armed anti-government teams, and extremist armed teams just like the Islamic State (ISIS),” Human Rights Watch researcher Hiba Zayadin additionally wrote on Monday.
The renewed concentrate on Tice’s case additionally comes because the Biden administration faces widespread calls to safe the discharge of different Individuals detained outdoors the nation, together with basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been held in Russia since mid-February on drug prices.
Biden final month signed an government order that aimed “to discourage and disrupt hostage-taking and wrongful detentions” of US residents overseas.
American journalist Austin Tice has spent a decade in captivity in Syria. I’m dedicated to bringing dwelling all U.S. hostages and wrongful detainees overseas and can proceed to pursue the discharge of Austin and different U.S. hostages in Syria.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 10, 2022
The order additionally directed authorities departments to bolster engagement and share related info with households in regards to the standing of their family members and US efforts to safe their launch or return.
Tice’s dad and mom stated throughout an occasion in Washington on Sunday that the 10-year anniversary of their son’s disappearance is painful, however that they haven’t misplaced hope. “I cautiously imagine that issues are transferring in the best path,” stated Debra Tice, as reported by McClatchy.
“I imagine we are going to quickly see Austin stroll free and convey this lengthy journey to an finish,” she stated, including that the US authorities “is making higher efforts than they have been earlier than” and that there’s a “technique”.