Family of Austin Tice, U.S. journalist missing in Syria since earlier August, hopes to find answers in Beirut
HOUSTON The family of a freelance journalist who disappeared while covering the war in Syria plans to travel to Beirut to work for his release.
Austin Tice's father, Marc Tice, said in a statement Thursday the family plans to travel to Beirut "soon." Tice declined to elaborate on the timeline during a phone conversation from Houston, Texas. Tice says he wants the family "complete" when they celebrate Thanksgiving later this month.
The 31-year-old former Marine went missing in August. He had been one of a few journalists to report from Damascus. Marc Tice says his last contact with his son was on Aug. 12.
A video clip posted online in early October showed Tice alive and being held by gunmen. It has been the only sign of Tice since his disappearance.
The family said in their statement they "do not know with certainty who is holding him."
Below is the full statement the family released to media in the Middle East:
"Our eldest son, Austin Tice, an international journalist, was in Syria on his way to Lebanon when we lost contact with him August 13, 2012. Now, through his silence we are experiencing many of the anxieties currently suffered by thousands of Syrian and Lebanese families who have had loved ones simply disappear.
"In order to expand our efforts to bring Austin safely home, we are planning to travel to Beirut soon. As we work to be reunited with our son, we are keenly aware of the many families in this region who are also living with uncertainty and longing.
"We pray daily for peace and stability throughout the Levant, hoping for restoration and a return to normal family life. It is our son's love for the people, especially the children, of this region which compelled him to come here as a journalist. We know it is also his fervent hope that these children and their families may live in peace.
"Each November, our family gathers to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, a time of shukr, when we feast and give thanks for all our blessings. Right now, there is an aching hole in our family, a beloved son who is missing from our table.
"It is the responsibility of those holding Austin to keep him safe, care for his needs and return him to us quickly, so our family can be complete when we celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving. Someone knows where Austin is, someone has the power to reach him and to restore him to our family. We ask that person, those people, to show compassion. Allow Austin to contact us, release him to come home."
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