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Seven Days and One Week
Somewhere Only We Know
Calvin Harris And Alesso feat Allso
Matt Williams and agencies, Friday 31st August 2012 22:12
Concern is mounting over the welfare of an American journalist reportedly detained in Syria.
The US state department said on Friday it was trying to confirm whether freelancer Austin Tine is being held by pro-government forces.
The Czech government, which represents American interests in Syria, said it believed the journalist to be alive and in custody, but had yet to confirm the information with Syrian authorities.
Meanwhile the reporter's father called on Damascus to release his son and return him to the US. In an interview with the Associated Press, Marc Tice said: "We have a belief that he's in Syrian custody, but we have not heard from the only people who would know for sure. That's the Syrians."
In a statement to the Washington Post and the McClatchy newspaper group, his family said: "Austin is our precious son, and we beseech the Syrian government to treat him well and return him safely to us as soon as possible."
Austin Tice worked as a freelance journalist for both media organizations. They reported Thursday that the Czech Republic ambassador to Syria had reported that Tice was alive.
"Our sources report that he is alive and that he was detained by government forces on the outskirts of Damascus, where the rebels were fighting government troops," Ambassador Eva Filipi was quoted as telling Czech television. The Czech embassy staff in Syria will continue to seek information about Tice, she said.
Tice recently spent time with rebel fighters in Syria and has not been heard from in nearly three weeks.
The 31-year-old former marine was living in Washington before heading overseas, and had been attending law school at Georgetown University between deployments and his latest reporting trip, his father has said.
"We welcome any news about Austin, after three long weeks without word," Anders Gyllenhaal, McClatchy vice-president for news, said in a statement. "If he is in fact being held by the Syrian government, we would expect that he is being well cared for and that he will quickly be released."
Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli said: "If the reports are true, we urge these authorities to release him promptly, unharmed."