Austin Tice, a former Marine Corps officer turned freelance journalist has now been missing in Syria since August of 2012. Abducted from the neighborhood of Darayya in Damascus, a hotspot in the Syrian uprising, little has been heard about Tice aside from a YouTube video released in September, 2012. The video shows a restrained Tice surrounded by supposed rebels shouting “allah akbar” and “takbir.”
The video is highly problematic as the alleged rebels conceal their faces and shout slogans so often as to make you wonder if they are not just pretending. Some experts and Syrian war observers believe the video to be a amateurish attempt at misdirection. At the time that Tice was kidnapped, Damascus was besieged by various rebel groups. Tice was one of the first to report on clashes between rebel and government forces in Syria.
In an interview with SOFREP and other representatives of the media, President Assad spoke briefly about Tice. “This one was not captured by the government. We have no idea or no information about him,” President Assad said. He continued to comment on another journalist who had been held by the Syrian government because he entered the country illegally, and has since been released. In regards to Tice, Assad said, “we don’t have him.”