President Trump on Thursday known as on Syria to assist safe the discharge of kidnapped journalist Austin Tice, who was taken hostage by jihadist militants within the war-torn nation virtually eight years in the past.
During a information convention by the White House coronavirus activity pressure, Trump implied that the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad was holding Tice and requested the nation to launch him on humanitarian grounds.
“Syria, please work with us, and we would appreciate you letting him out,” Trump stated. “We’ve done a lot for Syria and we have to see if they’re going to do this. It would be very much appreciated if they let Austin Tice out immediately.”
Trump stated he couldn’t verify that Tice is alive, however he would really like the journalist to be launched from captivity if he’s. “If he is alive, we would like to get him back very quickly,” Trump stated.
Tice, a former captain within the U.S. Marine Corps, had traveled to Syria as an unbiased journalist in May of 2012, earlier than his ultimate yr at Georgetown Law School. The Texas native was protecting occasions in Syria for McClatchy, The Washington Post and different information organizations when he disappeared simply days after turning 31.
About 5 weeks after his disappearance, a 43-second video emerged on-line exhibiting him within the captivity of what his household described as an “unusual group of apparent jihadists.” The males within the video have Tice certain and blindfolded. They chanted “Allah-Akbar” all through the clip and at one level, compelled him to recite a prayer in damaged Arabic.
Tice’s mom, Debra, stated final yr that she’s “reasonably hopeful” that her son is perhaps discovered, but in addition expressed frustration at a senior administration official, who has allegedly been obstructing the trouble. She additionally credited Trump for pushing more durable than the Obama administration did to safe her son’s launch.
“This administration is pressing it much more diligently than the previous administration,” she instructed McClatchy.
“There is a deliberate, concerted effort to make this occur. I feel it has not occurred as a result of someplace on the senior stage there’s some type of obstruction,” Debra Tice added.
In June 2017, the New York Times reported that then-CIA Director and present Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had reached out to a Syrian authorities official in an effort to safe Tice’s launch.
The backchannel shut down, nevertheless, after Syria launched a nerve gasoline assault on rebel-held territory within the northern half of the nation. The Trump administration responded with a missile strike and negotiations fell via.
In April 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) supplied a $1 million reward “for info main on to the protected location, restoration, and return of” the previous Marine.
Pompeo known as upon the Syrian authorities to launch Tice, and some other American hostages being held in Syria, again in September whereas addressing members of the media.
“The Trump administration by no means forgets about Americans wrongfully detained or held hostage overseas,” he said. “Among the greater than 100,000 individuals who have been detained or disappeared in Assad’s prisons is American journalist Austin Tice.