‘Work with us’: Trump calls on Syrian government to free journalist, Marine Austin Tice

Abbie Bennett
March 19, 2020 - 1:55 pm
AustinTice

Courtesy of the Tice family.

During a press briefing on Thursday, President Donald Trump called on the Syrian government to free journalist and Marine Austin Tice.

Tice has been held in Syria for seven years and 218 days. He turned 38 last August. 

During an announcement that his administration had secured the release of an American imprisoned in Lebanon, Trump said recovering Americans held captive abroad “continues to be a top priority for my administration.” 

That includes Tice, he said. 

“We have one young gentleman, Austin Tice, we’re working very hard with Syria to get him out,” Trump said. “We hope the Syrian government will do that. We are counting on them to do that.”

Trump said his administration had “written a letter just recently. He’s been there for a long time. He was captured long ago.”

The president said the United States has “done a lot for Syria” and asked the country to “please work with us. We would appreciate you letting him out … It would be very much appreciated if they would let Austin Tice out immediately.” 

Trump also sent a message to Tice’s mother, Debra Tice.

“His mother is probably watching,” Trump said. “She’s a great lady. We’re doing the best we can.” 

Following the press briefing, Tice’s parents, Debra and Marc Tice, issued a statement: 

“We are tremendously grateful for the tireless work President Trump is doing to bring Austin safely home. His efforts for our son are unmatched and his support and commitment mean the world to us. The president has our deepest appreciation. Robert O’Brien has also been by our side since he stepped into his role as Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. As National Security Advisor, he continues to be a tireless advocate for Austin and for all Americans held abroad. At this very disturbing time for our nation and the world, it is more important than ever to get4 Austin safely home. As President Trump said, we ask the Syrian government to do all they can to locate and safely return Austin to our family. May it be soon.”

At a press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on January 27, Debra Tice said someone in the United States government was standing in the way of bringing her son home. 

"Apparently, somewhere in the chain, there is a senior U.S. government official who is hesitating or stalling," she said. "There is no possible way for me to understand why anyone would defy the president's will and choose to leave our beloved son, who put his life on the line serving this country three tours as a Marine Corps officer, waiting in captivity instead of taking the necessary steps to get this critical discussion underway.

"Whoever you are, stand down or stand up for Austin," she said. 

“President Trump began today’s press conference by calling on the Syrian government to ‘work with us’ to free journalist Austin Tice. The National Press Club and the Journalism Institute are grateful that work is being done with Syria to bring him home. May it be soon,” National Press Club President Michael Freedman said in a statement. 

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.

“The most important thing that we know is he is alive,” Marc Tice told Connecting Vets previously. “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.

"It’s most likely, highly likely, someone affiliated with, or in support of, the Syrian government." 

US officials standing in the way of bringing captive Marine Austin Tice home, family says

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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. 

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

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