Biden calls on Syria to release American journalist

Biden calls on Syria to release American journalist
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US President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Syria to help secure the release of American journalist Austin Tice, who was abducted a decade ago in Damascus.

The US President urged the Damascus government to release journalist Austin Tice, who ten years ago on this day was abducted near the Syrian capital.

"We know with certainty that he has been held by the Syrian regime," Biden said in a statement. "We have repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us so that we can bring Austin home.

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for several Western news organizations including Agence France-Presse, The Washington Post and CBS when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on August 14, 2012.

A video footage a month later showed him blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men.

"There is no higher priority in my administration than the recovery and return of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad," Biden said.

"That is a pledge I have made to the American people and to Austin's parents, and it is one that I am determined to uphold," he added.

Tice’s family is still waiting for action from the U.S. government. 

"The United States government has worked very hard to convince me that they're working on it. My response is: Don't tell me. Show me," her mother Debra said in an interview with CBS News. 

Two Trump administration officials traveled to Syria two years ago to try and negotiate Tice's release, but the officials failed to secure his freedom, CBS said, adding that the Syrian government said no discussion could take place about hostages as long as U.S. troops were in their country.