Syria on Wednesday denied kidnapping or holding a US journalist who disappeared a decade ago a week after President Joe Biden demanded that Damascus let him go home.
Austin Tice, a former US Marine and a freelance journalist, was kidnapped in August 2012 aged 31 while reporting in Damascus on the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
His family believes he is alive and still being held in Syria. The identity of Tice's captors is not known, and there has been no claim of responsibility for his abduction.
On Wednesday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry described Tice as a US serviceman and denied the government was holding him or any other US citizen.
American journalist Austin Tice has spent a decade in captivity in Syria. I am committed to bringing home all U.S. hostages and wrongful detainees abroad and will continue to pursue the release of Austin and other U.S. hostages in Syria.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 10, 2022
"These are baseless allegations," the statement said.
Issuing a statement last week marking the tenth anniversary of his captivity, Biden said Washington knew "with certainty" that Tice has been held by the Syrian government.
The US State Department did not have any immediate comment on the Syrian government's statement.
Biden last week said his administration had "repeatedly asked the government of Syria to work with us so that we can bring Austin home"