Syria denies holding lacking US journalist Austin Tice

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Syria has denied it’s holding the lacking US journalist Austin Tice or different People after Joe Biden accused the Syrian authorities of detaining him.

The Syrian international ministry mentioned in a press release that Damascus “denies it had kidnapped or is holding any American citizen on its territories”.

“The US issued final week deceptive and illogical statements by the American president and secretary of state that included baseless accusations in opposition to Syria that it had kidnapped or detained Americans together with former US Marine Austin Tice,” the assertion mentioned.

Biden’s feedback final week got here in a press release launched by the White Home to mark the tenth anniversary of Tice’s abduction, which befell when he was in Syria protecting its prolonged battle. Biden’s remarks had been the clearest indication up to now that the US is for certain Tice is being held by the federal government of President Bashar Assad.

“We all know with certainty that he has been held by the Authorities of Syria,” Biden mentioned in his assertion final week. “Now we have repeatedly requested the federal government of Syria to work with us in order that we will deliver Austin residence.”

The state division spokesman, Ned Worth, informed reporters on Tuesday that the US authorities has pushed Syria to return each American. On Tice’s case particularly, he mentioned, the Biden administration has “engaged extensively – and that features straight – with Syrian officers and thru third events.

“Syria has by no means acknowledged holding him,” Worth mentioned of Tice, including that “we aren’t going to be deterred in our efforts. We’re going to pursue each avenue for securing Austin’s secure return.”

The Syrian international ministry denied in its assertion having any secret contacts with US officers on the lacking People, including that “any official dialogue with the American authorities will solely be public primarily based on the respect of Syria’s sovereignty”.

In Might, a prime Lebanese safety official, Maj Gen Abbas Ibrahim, met with US officers in Washington as a part of mediation efforts between the US and Syria for Tice’s launch. Ibrahim, the chief of Lebanon’s common safety directorate, has mediated sophisticated hostage releases previously.

In Might, Biden met Tice’s dad and mom and reiterated his dedication to working towards “Austin’s lengthy overdue return to his household”.

Within the remaining months of the Trump administration, two US officers – together with the federal government’s prime hostage negotiator, Roger Carstens, a former military particular forces officer – made a secret go to to Damascus to hunt info on Tice and different People who’ve disappeared in Syria. It was the highest-level negotiation in years between the US and Assad’s authorities, although Syrian officers supplied no significant info on Tice.

Tice went lacking shortly after his thirty first birthday on 14 August 2012 at a checkpoint in a contested space west of the capital of Damascus. A video launched a month later confirmed him blindfolded and held by armed males, saying, “Oh, Jesus.” He has not been heard from since.

Tice is considered one of two People who went lacking in Syria. The opposite is Majd Kamalmaz, a psychologist from Virginia, who vanished in Syria in 2017.

Tice is from Houston and his work had been printed by the Washington Publish, McClatchy newspapers and different shops. He went to Syria to cowl the battle that began in 2011. The conflict has left a whole bunch of hundreds useless and displaced practically half of the pre-conflict inhabitants of 23 million. Greater than 5 million of these are outdoors the nation.


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