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Biden urges Syria to secure return of missing US journalist

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Damascus to help repatriate a US journalist who went missing in Syria 10 years ago, amid pressure on the White House from families of hostages and detainees. He directly appealed while the

Freelance reporter and former U.S. Marine Austin Theis was kidnapped in August 2012 at the age of 31 while he was covering the riots against Syrian President Assad in Damascus.

His family believes he is alive and still being held in Syria. The identity of Taith's kidnapper is unknown, and no responsibility has been claimed for his kidnapping. Washington says the Syrian government has detained him in the past, something Damascus denies.

Biden released a statement to mark his 10th anniversary from Thais captivity, saying his administration would "ask the Syrian government to allow Austin to return home." We have repeatedly asked for cooperation," he said.

Biden added:

Washington suspended its diplomatic presence in Syria, where the civil war began in 2012. In 2020, under former President Donald Trump's administration, senior White House officialsダマスカスを訪れ、タイスともう一人のアメリカ人の釈放を求めるシリア政府との秘密会談を行った。

followed the February arrest of WNBA star Britney Griner in Russia. The plight of Tice and other Americans detained abroad has become clear. Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court last week. She is guilty of drug charges. Biden called the ruling "unacceptable."

Families of hostages and detainees began urging Biden to make the issue a priority and take steps such as arranging further prisoner exchanges with foreign governments.

34} Biden last month signed an executive order aimed at deterring and punishing the unjust detention of Americans abroad by empowering government agencies to impose sanctions and other measures.

(reported by Rami Ayyub, edited by John Stonestreet)