US President Joe Biden yesterday ordered his administration to hold direct talks with the Syrian regime to discuss the case of American journalist Austin Tice, who has been held in Syria for a decade.
In May, Biden met with Tice’s parents in the White House and ordered his National Security Council to meet the Bashar Al-Assad regime and “work on reaching a fate for the detained journalist.”
Tice’s mother has told reporters that “to my knowledge” the meeting had not taken place yet, adding that any attempts other than “this direct meeting are secondary efforts.”
After their meeting with Biden, Tice’s parents were reported to have left the White House “fraught with hope” for their imminent reunion with their son.
The White House’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, has previously reported that Biden had renewed his “commitment to pursue all available channels to ensure that Tice finally returns to his family.”
Tice, who worked as a photojournalist for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, the Washington Post and CBS, disappeared in August 2012 at a checkpoint in the west of the Syrian capital Damascus.