World Bulletin / News Desk
The Syrian government released an American photographer following efforts of Russian and Czech authorities, a U.S. official confirmed Friday.
While not disclosing the identity of the photographer due to privacy considerations, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the individual was released a few days ago and was no longer in Syria.
U.S. officials told The Associated Press, however, that the photographer is Kevin Patrick Dawes, 33, who was abducted in 2012.
The AP also reported that U.S. officials were told that the freelance photographer was turned over to Czech authorities from Russia, which has supported the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the war began in 2011.
"We are appreciative of efforts on the part of the Russian government that it undertook on behalf of this U.S. citizen," Toner said, adding that the Czech Republic, as protecting power, provided consular support for the release.
Toner said he could not "speak to the logistics," of the release and refused to tell what exact role the Russia played.
Also Friday, the State Department said the U.S. continues to do its best to ensure the safe release of Americans who are missing or being held hostage in Syria.
"We continue to work through our Czech protecting power in Syria to get information on the welfare and whereabouts of Austin Tice and other U.S. citizens missing and detained in Syria," according to spokesman Mark Toner.
Tice has been missing since August 2012. He was last seen in a video released a month after his capture in which he was seen blindfolded and held by armed men.
Toner said the U.S. continues to hold discussions with Russia and members of the International Syria Support Group regarding allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria. The U.S. accuses ISIL of using chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.
Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2016, 09:21