Journalist Austin Tice was abducted in Syria in August of 2012. Photo courtesy FBI/Website
Aug. 11 (UPI) — President Joe Biden has revealed that the U.S. government knows “with certainty” that abducted American journalist Austin Tice is being held by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Biden made the revelation in a statement Wednesday on the 10th anniversary of Tice’s abduction.
The Texas native was covering the war in Syria for various outlets in August of 2012 when he was taken.
The last time he was seen was in video footage published weeks after he went missing, showing him wearing a blindfold and being escorted through the bush by armed men.
Biden said they have repeatedly asked the Syrian government negotiate his release.
“On the 10th anniversary of his abduction, I am calling on Syria to end this and help us bring him home,” Biden said. “The Tice family deserves answers, and more importantly, they deserve to be swiftly reunited with Austin.”
The Syrian government has yet to acknowledge its detention of Tice, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement Wednesday was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and international law.
“I am committed to bringing home all U.S. hostages and wrongful detainees held around the world,” he said. “We will continue to pursue all available avenues to bring Austin home and work tirelessly until we succeed in dong so.”
The announcement comes amid renewed attention in Tice’s case that followed the United States and Russia engaging in a prisoner exchange that returned former Marine Trevor Reed home in late April after three years of being held by Moscow.
The prisoner swap was mentioned during the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual fundraising dinner held on May 1 when its president, Steven Portnoy, said during his remarks before Biden that their thoughts were with their colleague Tice.
Tice’s mother, Debra Tice, was also an attendee during the dinner, and Biden, during his remarks that night, said he wanted to meet with her.
The White House then said Biden had met with the Tice family in early May.
In Biden’s statement Wednesday, he said that he has pledged to the Tices that their son’s return is a priority for his administration.
“We stand with Austin’s many loved ones, and we will not rest until we bring Austin home,” Biden said. “Ten years is far, far too long. So is every additional day.”
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