Congress urges Trump to bring Marine, journalist Austin Tice home after 7 years captive in Syria

Abbie Bennett
September 27, 2019 - 2:24 pm

Marine Austin Tice is the only U.S. journalist being held abroad. He's been a captive in Syria for more than seven years.

On Monday, his parents -- Debra and Marc Tice -- along with dozens of volunteers, canvassed every congressional office, urging lawmakers to work to return him home safely. 

On Friday, just days later, 173 members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to the White House, asking President Donald trump to work "urgently" to bring Austin home, according to a news release from the National Press Club Journalism Institute, which has helped lead an "Ask About Austin" campaign to see the Marine captain returned to the U.S. 

'Ask about Austin': Marine, journalist Austin Tice still a captive after 7 years

It's been 2,601 days since Austin was abducted near Damascus. He turned 38 on Aug. 14. His family has worked tirelessly to free him. 

AustinTice
Courtesy of the Tice family.

“Congress remains united in our commitment to supporting any and all constructive efforts to bring Austin home to his family,” the letter reads. 

Austin was in Syria reporting on the civil conflict there for three months in 2012 and was on his way out of the country when he was abducted, Marc Tice told Connecting Vets ahead of the seven-year anniversary of his son's capture. 

Austin never made it out of Syria. 

A few days before his son's 38th birthday, Marc shared a message for Austin through Connecting Vets:  "Austin, if I'm speaking to him -- you're an amazing man. We're proud of you. We love you. We know how strong you are. And we know that you can hang in there until ... until we can get you home."

“Among the more than 100,000 people who have been detained or disappeared in Assad’s prisons is American journalist Austin Tice. He has now spent seven years in captivity. He is just one of a number of American citizens held in Syria, and we call upon the Syrian regime to release them all,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday. 

About a month after Austin's abduction, a video titled "Austin Tice is Alive" surfaced that appeared to show Austin taken captive by a group of men. But no credible information about who those men are has surfaced. It was the last time the public got a glimpse of Austin. 

“The most important thing that we know is he is alive,” Marc said. “He is, as best the information we have can tell us, is being taken care of. There’s every reason to keep working as hard as we can and our government can and others who are helping us to get him home.”

The family has yet to receive a credible claim of responsibility for Austin’s detainment, but say they know he’s not held by any opposition forces or terrorist groups.

“It’s most likely, highly likely, someone affiliated with, or in support of, the Syrian government,” Marc said, sighing. 

“It’s the timing that’s so difficult. It’s been way too long. So we’ve learned -- while our hope never falters or changes -- we moderate our expectations. Today, I have hoped Austin would be home tomorrow and that doesn’t change.”

If you have any information about Austin Tice's detainment, contact the family at www.austinticefamily.com. A $1 million reward is offered by the FBI, with a matching reward from a coalition of media organizations. Want to get more connected to the stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.