US President Donald Trump urged the Syrian regime Thursday to release Austin Tice, a freelance American journalist who was abducted in 2012 while covering the early years of the country’s decade-long conflict, Anadolu reports.
“Syria, please work with us. We would appreciate your letting him out,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“If you think about what we’ve done, we’ve gotten rid of the ISIS caliphate in Syria, we’ve done a lot for Syria. We have to see if they’re going to do this. It would be very much appreciated if they would let Austin Tice out immediately,” he added.
Trump said he recently sent a letter to the regime seeking Tice’s release, but additional details about the correspondence were not immediately available.
Tice’s whereabouts, as well as whether he has survived captivity, remain unknown. He was last seen in a video released one month after his 2012 capture where he blindfolded and held by armed men. No group has confirmed it is holding Tice.
But the US suspects regime forces of carrying out his abduction and continuing to hold him incommunicado.
Trump later clarified that his remarks do not confirm that Tice is alive, saying “we’re trying to find that out.”
“This has been going on for years, many years they’ve been trying to find Austin Tice,” he added.
Tice’s parents have embarked on an unrelenting campaign for their son’s release for years, but it has so far failed to result in his release.
Tice served in the US Marine Corps, and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, prior to working as a journalist.