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This Sunday marks ten years since the disappearance of American journalist Austin Tice. He is believed to have been abducted from a suburb of Damascus in Syria in 2012.
“He is in Syria. It’s a certainty,” Tice’s mother, Debra Tice, said of the intelligence she is aware of. “He is definitely being held in a government-linked organization.” She talked to Considering all the circumstances last week about her years-long effort to free her son, who is also a Marine Corps veteran.
Austin Tice’s mother said her son was in Syria to report on the country’s civil war at the time to “show the world the real cost of war,” she said.
The world last saw Theis in a 46-second video posted on YouTube in September 2012.
In it, a freelance journalist appears in torn clothes, blindfolded, being led by masked men with weapons. The men chant, “God is the greatest.”
Thais was recorded reciting a common Islamic phrase in Arabic, his head bowed. He screams, “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus” before the video ends.
A video from the time suggested that Tais, then 31, had been captured by Islamic extremists.
The US government has since publicly confirmed that Tice is in Syrian government custody.
“We have repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us so that we can bring Austin home,” President Biden said in a statement last week. “On the tenth anniversary of his abduction, I call on Syria to stop this and help us bring him home.”
The Syrian government has never acknowledged that Tais is in custody.
The Thais family continues to push the White House for more negotiations with the Syrian government.
“Three things will be needed: engagement, negotiation and recognition. It’s always going to be part and parcel of any kidnapping, any hostage-taking,” she told NPR. “And the United States government does not want to engage directly with the Syrian government. And until this happens, nothing else can happen.”
The Thais family has now called on three administrations, including former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, to negotiate with the Syrian government for their son’s release.