Austin Tice facts: Trump pleads Syria to release US journalist amid coronavirus

Tice went missing in 2012 when he illegally entered Syria to cover the civil war.

Donald Trump pressed Syria to release American journalist Austin Tice, who is believed to be held hostage in the country after he disappeared nearly eight years ago.

"We have one young gentleman, Austin Tice, and we're working very hard with Syria to get him out. We hope the Syrian government will do that," Trump said at a press conference on Thursday.

"Syria, please work with us. We would appreciate you letting him out," he said. "Think about what we've done. We've gotten rid of the Isis caliphate. We've done a lot for Syria," Trump said in his public plea.

During the plea statement, Trump was asked by a reported if he was saying he knew Tice was still alive, to which Trump replied: "No, I'm not. But we're trying to find that out."

Austin Tice
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Who is Austin Tice?

Tice went missing in Syria in 2012 while working as a freelance journalist. He illegally entered Syria to report on the civil war, which was then in its second year, and he had plans to leave in August 2012 but was detained -- believed to be three days before his 31st birthday. However Syrian officials have publicly denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the Marine Corps veteran from Texas.

Five weeks after he was detained, a short video titled "Austin Tice still alive" was posted on a Syrian pro-government website. The video showed the journalist blindfolded, being forced to recite a prayer Muslims say before dying. He then said in English, "Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus."

While there has been no official confirmation if Tice was alive, in late 2018, his parents said they had new information that led them to believe he was still alive in Syria. But, other details were not provided.

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