Austin Tice had long ambitioned to travel to Syria to gain insight from the Syrians regarding the ongoing civil war. He remained in the country for less than two months before disappearing without a trace a few days after his birthday celebration with the Free Syrian Army.
Missing since August 2012, the last report of journalist Austin Tice was his detainment in a checkpoint on the way to Lebanon. The number of killed journalists grew since his disappearance.
Who is Austin Bennett Tice?
Born on August 11, 1981, in Texas, as the oldest of seven siblings, Austin Bennett Tice had already realized his dream of becoming a journalist in his childhood years when he ambitioned to be a correspondent for the National Public Radio.
Austin Tice pursued his realized goal by studying at the University of Houston. After a year, in 2002, Tice transferred to the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Georgetown University. After finishing his education at the Georgetown University Law Center, he decided to move to Syria. He took action during the summer break, traveling to Syria with a desire to amplify the voices of the Syrians through his work. (Source: TV Guide Time)
In May 2012, he arrived in Syria and became one of the few American journalists that comprehensively covered the civil war situation in Syria. He had spent less than two months in the country, and within that period, he’d already befriended Free Syrian Army rebels that were introduced to him by a hired fixer named Mahmoud.
On August 11, 2012, Austin celebrated his birthday with members of the Free Syrian Army. He then posted a tweet the day following his birthday, stating that they had a pool party with alcohol while listening to Taylor Swift music.
Not even a week after his birthday, Austin disappeared. The last Austin’s editors heard of him was his plans to go to Lebanon through one of the most dangerous ways at that time. Reports state that Austin was detained at a checkpoint on his way to Lebanon.
Weeks after, a 43-second video entitled Austin Tice is Alive emerged from the internet. The video depicted a blindfolded Austin with an unidentified armed group of men; many speculate that Austin wasn’t the one seen in the video. With that said, this is the only information the Tice family has received regarding Austin’s disappearance. There’s no trace of him since.
Since the disappearance of Austin Tice, the number of killed journalists has continuously grown in Syria. In 2013, at least 20 journalists were killed in Syria, making it the most dangerous place worldwide for those in the profession. (Source: International Business Times)
The State’s Response
The only plea of the Tice Family is for the governments of both the Syrian Arab Republic and the United States to exert effort in bringing back Austin Tice. (Source: The Family of Austin Tice)
In late 2018, the former Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien announced to the press that state officials shared the assumption that Austin was alive. He provided no additional details regarding the matter. (Source: International Business Times)
In 2021, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a press statement on the birthday of Austin Tice. Within the account, he stated that efforts to return Austin home are continuously being pursued. (Source: US Department of State)