President Biden on Wednesday marked 10 years of Austin Tice, the American journalist and former Marine, being held in captivity in Syria, calling for him to be released and return home.
“This week marks a decade since American Austin Tice was abducted in Damascus, Syria,” Biden said in a statement. “Austin served in the United States Marine Corps. He is a son, he is a brother, and he is an investigative journalist who put the truth above himself and traveled to Syria to show the world the real cost of war. We know with certainty that he has been held by the Syrian regime.”
Biden said he has repeatedly asked the Syrian government to work with the U.S. to bring Tice home and used the anniversary to do so again. Biden met with Tice’s parents in May and told them his administration is working to bring hostages, including their son, home.
“On the tenth anniversary of his abduction, I am calling on Syria to end this and help us bring him home. There is no higher priority in my Administration than the recovery and return of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” he said.
The president said he is determined to uphold the pledge to return American hostages and reunite them with their families. Biden has also been under pressure to help bring home WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia last week, as well as Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in Russia
“We stand with Austin’s many loved ones, and we will not rest until we bring Austin home. Ten years is far, far too long. So is every additional day,” he said.
The Tice family called on Biden to prioritize securing their son’s safe release in an open letter to the president in October, requesting his personal engagement on the issue. The letter called on Biden to issue direct orders to help facilitate his release and return to the U.S.
In December, Tice’s mother called the White House a “hurdle” in bringing her son home during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Tice was kidnapped in August 2012 while working as a freelance journalist covering the Syrian civil war. The Trump administration in November 2020 said it was using every tool at its disposal to bring Tice home, but were ultimately unsuccessful.