Austin Tice, an American freelance journalist missing in Syria for over two weeks, is said by Czech diplomats to be in Syrian government custody, the Washington Post‘s Ernesto Londono reports:
In an appearance on a Czech television station on Monday, Czech ambassador to Syria Eva Filipi said of Tice that “our sources report that he is alive and that he was detained by government forces on the outskirts of Damascus, where the rebels were fighting government troops.”
The Czech Embassy has been responsible for U.S. interests in Syria since the U.S. Embassy was shuttered in February amid security concerns. Filipi said her staff would continue to seek information about Tice’s whereabouts and welfare in the coming days.
Her account has subsequently been corroborated by others who are familiar with Tice’s whereabouts, and who said he had been detained near the Damascus suburb of Darayya.
The State Department said the Syrian government has not responded to queries about Tice, Londono reported.
Tice, a Georgetown University law student and former US Marine, has reported from Syria for the Washington Post and McClatchy newspapers.
(Photo: Austin Tice, a freelance journalist who contributed to McClatchy and other news outlets from Syria, was last heard from in mid-August. Courtesy of Tice family /via McClatchy News)