Syrian Government Denies Holding Missing Journalist, Father Says

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(CNN) — The Syrian government has told the parents of a missing American journalist that it doesn’t know where their son is, the man’s father said Monday at a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon.

Austin Tice last contacted his family on August 13 while in Syria reporting on the uprising there against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. He was reportedly preparing to leave Syria for Lebanon when he went missing, according to his family.

In October, a shaky video surfaced on YouTube showing a man believed to be Tice surrounded by armed men walking him up a hill.

Tice’s father, Marc Tice, said that family members have been in touch, “directly and indirectly,” with Syrian government officials, but they have learned nothing about his son’s location despite traveling to Beirut to seek his release.

“We’re reaching out to everyone that we can get in touch with,” he said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that U.S. officials have no idea where Tice is but have enlisted the help of Poland, which represents U.S. interests in Syria as a “protecting power” after the closing of the American Embassy in Damascus.

“We continued to work through our various channels, including the protecting power, to urge the Syrian regime to be more forthcoming,” she said.

Nuland previously said U.S. officials believe Tice was detained by Syrian officials in August as he was preparing to leave the country. Tice had smuggled himself into the country to report on the uprising.

State Department officials have questioned the veracity of the October video, which purports to show Tice in the custody of rebels fighting the Syrian government.

Tice’s mother, Debra Tice, again called on her son’s captors to release him.

“Austin is a cherished son and beloved brother. If he were your son or brother, I ask, what would you do to find him and return him to your family?” she told reporters in Beirut.

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