Syria has denied holding U.S. journalist Austin Tice, saying Wednesday it had not kidnapped “any American citizen on its territories.”
The statement from Syria’s foreign ministry comes a week after U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States knows “with certainty that he has been held by the Government of Syria.”
Biden said in a statement on the 10th anniversary of Tice’s disappearance that the U.S. has repeatedly asked for the Syrian government’s assistance in bringing Tice home, and that he called on Syria “to end this.”
Tice went missing in August 2012 at a checkpoint west of the Syrian capital, Damascus. A video released in September of that year showed a blindfolded Tice being held by armed men.
Tice’s family has continually sought help in securing his return.
His disappearance came in the early years of the Syrian conflict that has included U.S. aid to some groups opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, as well as U.S. military operations against Islamic State militants who took control in parts of Syria.
Syria has objected to what it calls U.S. violations of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the Syrian foreign ministry statement Wednesday said any communication with the U.S. side will be based on respect for non-interference in Syrian affairs.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.