Syria denies holding US journo missing for 10 years

Last week, marking a decade since Tice was taken captive, Biden said the US government knew “with certainty that he has been held by the Syrian regime”…reports Asian Lite News

The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the kidnapping of US journalist Austin Tice 10 years ago.

On Wednesday, the Syrian state news agency Sana reported that the Damascus Foreign Ministry had denounced allegations made by US President Joe Biden.

Tice was working in Syria as a freelance journalist when unidentified individuals abducted him in August 2012 at a checkpoint in a suburb of the capital, reports dpa news agency.

A few weeks later, his family reported a video had surfaced showing Tice with a group of gunmen.

Last week, marking a decade since Tice was taken captive, Biden said the US government knew “with certainty that he has been held by the Syrian regime”.

The President called on Syria to send Tice home.

The Foreign Ministry in Damascus, however, said that the Syrian government had not kidnapped or arrested any American citizen.

But the Ministry did point out that Tice and other Americans had entered Syria illegally.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to Tice’s return.

After over 11 years of civil war, supporters of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad once again account for about two thirds of the country.

Human rights organisations have found that tens of thousands of people have been subjected to imprisonment, torture and other abuses without due legal process.

The fate of many is unknown and countless others have died or been executed, according to reports.

In May, Biden held a meeting with Marc and Debra Tice at the White House to discuss their son’s case.

The Tice family pleaded with the President to directly engage with the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad on Tice.

Biden told the family he would direct his team to meet with the Syrians as soon as possible.

In his statement last week, Biden said the family “deserves answers, and more importantly, they deserve to be swiftly reunited with Austin”.

“We stand with Austin’s many loved ones, and we will not rest until we bring Austin home. Ten years is far, far too long… So is every additional day.”

ALSO READ: Biden asks Syria to help bring detained US reporter home

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