On 10-Year Anniversary of Tice Abduction, a Message From Biden

President says 'we know with certainty' Syria has US journo, calls on Syria to 'help us bring him home'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2022 9:01 AM CDT
Biden: 'We Know With Certainty' That Syria Has Austin Tice
Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, speak during a press conference, at the Press Club, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Dec. 4, 2018.   (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File)

(Newser) – Austin Tice was abducted in Syria 10 years ago this week, and no government or group has claimed responsibility or admitted to detaining him since. But on Wednesday, President Biden said "we know with certainty" that Syria has the 41-year-old US freelance journalist and Marine Corps veteran in captivity, and America wants him back stat. "I am calling on Syria to end this and help us bring him home," Biden said in a statement, per the Washington Post, one of the publications that Tice contributed to. "There is no higher priority in my administration than the recovery and return of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad."

Tice, one of the longest-held American hostages, was taken at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012. A few weeks later, a video of a blindfolded Tice emerged on social media with his captors—the last time he was seen, per CBS News. In his statement, Biden referenced a meeting he'd had in May with Marc and Debra Tice, Tice's parents, and said he'd vowed to do everything he could to get their son back. "We will not rest until we bring Austin home," he noted, per the Post. "Ten years is far, far too long. So is every additional day." Debra Tice said in that meeting that Biden handed the job of communicating with the Syrian government on the matter to the National Security Council and national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

In his own statement Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also promised to "continue to pursue all available avenues to bring Austin home and work tirelessly until we succeed in doing so," per CNN. He added that those efforts include trying to free other US nationals detained in Syria, including psychologist Majd Kamalmaz, who disappeared near Damascus in 2017. However, Debra Tice wants more than words. "The United States government has worked very hard to convince me that they're working on it," she told CBS earlier this week. "My response is: Don't tell me. Show me." One thing she is convinced of is that her son is alive. "I've never wavered. I'm not wavering now," she said. "There's no reason not to believe that he's waiting and hoping and dreaming and planning to walk free." (Read more Austin Tice stories.)

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