Joseph Aid/- via Getty Images
This Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the death of American journalist Austin Tice. He was reportedly kidnapped from a suburb of Damascus, Syria in 2012.
“He is in Syria. It’s a certainty,” Tice’s mother, Debra Tice, said of the information she knows. “It is definitely owned by a government-related entity.” She spoke to All things Considered last week about her years of trying to free her son, who is also a Marine Corps veteran.
Austin Tice’s mother said her son was in Syria reporting on the country’s civil war at the time to “show the world the true cost of war”, she said.
The world last saw Tice in a 46-second video posted to YouTube in September 2012.
In it, the freelance journalist appears in torn clothes, blindfolded and led by masked men with guns. Men sing: “God is the greatest”.
Tice is recorded reciting a common Islamic phrase in Arabic, his head bowed in distress. He shouts “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus” just before the music video ends.
The video from the time suggested that Tice, then 31, had been seized by Islamic extremists.
The US government has since publicly confirmed that Tice is in Syrian government custody.
“We have repeatedly asked the Syrian government 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 put an end to this and help us bring him home.
The Syrian government has never admitted to detaining Tice.
The Tice family continues to push the White House to do more to negotiate with the Syrian government.
“It’s going to take three things: an engagement, negotiations and a confession. This will always be an integral part of any kidnapping, any hostage taking,” she told -. “And the United States government did not want to engage directly with the Syrian government. And until that happens, nothing else can happen.”
The Tice family has now called on three administrations, including that of former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, to negotiate with the Syrian government for the release of their son.