The parents of American journalist, Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria, have been waiting for their son’s release for almost a decade, according to reports. Following a public appeal for assistance over the weekend, Vice President Joe Biden lost no time in announcing on Monday that he will meet with them “today.”
In a statement released following the meeting, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that “the president reiterated his commitment to continue to work through all available avenues to secure Austin’s long overdue return to his family.”
Psaki went on to say that the national security team “will remain in regular contact” with the family of the journalist.
Earlier this week, the White House Correspondents’ Association’s president paid homage to Tice at the group’s annual dinner, requesting Tice’s mother to stand and be recognized in front of the president. The matter has gotten more attention as a result.
Bided stated that he would want to meet with Tice’s parents, when he made his own remarks.
“After the President made those comments, obviously we went into action to work to set up the meeting on Sunday and see if Debra and Mark Tice — Austin’s parents — would be available,” Psaki said during a briefing.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, had already visited with the Tices, but Psaki described their meeting with Biden as “an additional and more significant step.”
While reporting on the Free Syrian Army, Austin Tice went missing in 2012. A month later, footage was released that showed him blindfolded, being pulled from a vehicle, and being led up a hill by armed men while screaming, “Oh, Jesus. ” Since then, he has not been seen or heard from in public.
Up to $1 million is being offered by the FBI as a reward for information leading directly to Tice’s safe recovery, finding, and return.