Syria denies it is holding American journalist Austin Tice
Syria on Wednesday officially denied it was holding American journalist and Marine Corps veteran Austin Tice, who was abducted in Syria 10 years ago.
Why it matters: President Biden said last week that the U.S. knows with certainty that Tice, one of the longest-held and most high-profile American hostages, has been held by the Syrian government.
- “We have repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us so that we can bring Austin home," Biden said.
- The Biden administration has said it has engaged in recent months with the Syrian government both through third parties and directly to try and reach a breakthrough.
What they're saying: “The Syrian Arab Republic categorically denies the accusations of kidnapping, or hiding any American citizen who entered its territories or stayed in the areas under the sovereignty and authority of the Syrian Government," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
- The Syrian Foreign Ministry added that any dialogue or official communication with the U.S. will only be based on respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.
- “The U.S. should immediately and unconditionally withdraw its military forces from Syrian territories, and stop plundering and smuggling the Syrian oil and wheat," the statement added.