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US believes missing journalist Tice still alive after six years

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Washington, United States | Wed, August 15, 2018 | 10:10 am
US believes missing journalist Tice still alive after six years Debra Tice speaks about her son Austin Tice, the only US journalist held captive in Syria, during the unveiling of a new banner calling for his release at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Nov., 02, 2016 . Family and supporters of missing US journalist Austin Tice on August 14, 2018, will mark six years since his disappearance in Syria amid ongoing uncertainty about his whereabouts or condition. Tice's parents are scheduled to appear at a National Press Club exhibit opening featuring Tice's photographs from Syria. Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP (AFP/Andrew Caballero)

President Donald Trump's administration believes missing US journalist Austin Tice is still alive, six years after he is thought to have been taken captive in Syria. 

"We believe him to be alive," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on the sixth anniversary of his disappearance. 

"We remain deeply concerned about his well-being, and we are actively working to bring Austin Tice home."

Nauert declined to provide information on how the United States has reached that conclusion or where he is being held, and by whom. 

Tice was a 31-year-old freelance photojournalist working for AFP, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS, and other news organizations when he was detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on August 14, 2012.

A former marine, he appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.

Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.

Earlier this year, the US government announced a reward of $1 million for information about Tice.

Speaking to the Washington Post, his parents said they hoped the Trump administration would open direct talks with the Syrian government to secure his release.

"We really do believe that this administration has a greater commitment to bring people home," his mother Debra Tice said.

With US-Syria relations broken off, Nauert declined to answer directly when asked if direct talks with Damascus on Tice were possible.

"I can assure you that we're doing everything that we can to try to bring him home," she said.

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