President Biden tells Austin Tice's parents: US will find reporter missing in Syria

Leader vows to work 'relentlessly' for return of Austin Tice, who went missing about a decade ago

Marc and Debra Tice, parents of US journalist Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012, hold portraits of him during a press conference in Beirut in 2017. AFP
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US President Joe Biden has promised the parents of a reporter who went missing in Syria 10 years ago that his administration would work "relentlessly" towards his return.

On Monday, Mr Biden met with the parents of Austin Tice, a freelance journalist and former marine, who disappeared while reporting in 2012, Reuters said.

"During their meeting, the President reiterated his commitment to continue to work through all available avenues to secure Austin’s long overdue return to his family," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

"Today's meeting built on multiple meetings and conversations between the Tice family and the President's national security team, which will remain in regular contact with the Tices and other families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad.

"We appreciate the bravery and candour of families enduring these harrowing experiences, and we remain committed to supporting them and, most importantly, reuniting them with their loved ones."

She said the administration would work "relentlessly until Austin and other Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained worldwide are safely at home with their loved ones."

The meeting comes after both Biden and the journalist's parents attended the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday, where Tice was honoured along with other journalists killed, injured or detained while covering conflicts.

Ms Psaki told reporters that the White House "went into action" after the televised gala and that while senior officials had already met several times with Tice's family, "meeting with the president is an additional and more significant step."

Tice, a freelance reporter and former marine, went missing in August 2012 at a checkpoint near Damascus. Five weeks later, a video was released showing him being held by unidentified armed men.

It is the only video of him that has been released since he was taken.

In 2018, Tice's parents said they had received information that indicated their son was still alive. Last year, the State Department’s hostage envoy said he also thought this and the US took extensive steps - including sending CIA officers to Damascus in 2018 - to try and find Tice.

Another former US marine, Trevor Reed, was released from detention in Russia last week in a Cold War-style prisoner swap with a detained Russian man.

Updated: May 03, 2022, 8:30 AM
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