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Syria rejects Biden's accusation that it abducted journalist Austin Tice in 2012

Journalist Austin Tice disappeared in Syria in August 2012 while he was in the country covering the civil war. Photo courtesy Debra Tice/Twitter
Journalist Austin Tice disappeared in Syria in August 2012 while he was in the country covering the civil war. Photo courtesy Debra Tice/Twitter

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The Syrian government on Wednesday rejected U.S. accusations that it is detaining an American journalist who's been missing for a decade, or any other American citizens.

U.S. President Joe Biden said last week that it's certain that Syria has been holding journalist Austin Tice since he disappeared while covering the civil conflict in the Middle Eastern country in August 2012.

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"We know with certainty that he has been held by the government of Syria," Biden said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of Tice's disappearance.

"We have repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us so that we can bring Austin home."

RELATED Biden: Abducted American journalist Austin Tice is being held by Syria

Syria's foreign ministry rejected the accusation on Wednesday, saying that it hasn't kidnapped or detained any U.S. citizen.

"Last week, misleading and illogical statements were issued by the U.S. administration, represented by the U.S. president and his foreign minister, which included false accusations of the Syrian government of kidnapping or arresting U.S. citizens, including Austin Tice," Syria's foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

Tice, who was 31 when he disappeared, is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was kidnapped on Aug. 14, 2012, in the Syrian capital Damascus. He was working as a freelance journalist who contributed to The Washington Post, CBS News and McClatchy.

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Tice's family said that he was traveling in the Damascus area while working on a story when he was stopped at a checkpoint. Debra Tice, his mother, said she's grateful that Biden is talking publicly about freeing her son.

"I'm just so glad that President Biden has said Austin's name publicly," she told CNN.

"I think that it's an indication from the president that the United States government is ready to engage with Syria to bring Austin home."

RELATED FBI offers $1M for return of U.S. journalist kidnapped in Syria

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