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Trump says doesn't know if Syria hostage Austin Tice still alive

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Washington (AFP)

US President Donald Trump said Thursday he didn't know if Austin Tice, an American journalist missing in Syria since 2012, was still alive.

"If he's alive, we would like to get him back," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"We're working very hard with Syria to get him out," the president said. "We hope the Syrian government will do that.

"We're counting on them to do that."

Trump said his administration had written to Damascus recently about Tice.

"He's been there for a very long time. He was captured long ago," Trump said. We're doing the best we can."

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for AFP, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on August 14, 2012.

Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.

Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.

In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.

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