Syrian regime releases American photographer

Syrian regime releases American photographer

The freelance photographer traveled to Syria in September 2012 via Turkey, according to the FBI.

Published
Panoramic view of the town of Maaloula, Syria. (Photo: Flickr / usebius@Commons)

The freelance photographer traveled to Syria in September 2012 via Turkey, according to the FBI.

Washington (Talk Media News) – The Syrian government has released an American, whom The Washington Post identified as a freelance photographer held in captivity since 2012.

Unnamed officials told the Post that Kevin Dawes, 33, of Renton, Washington, was released after months of negotiations between the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the Czech Republic, which represents U.S. interest in the region, and with assistance from Russia.

The U.S. has not had a diplomatic presence in Syria since 2012.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner would not confirm the identity of the released American Friday, citing “privacy concerns,” but said that reports of his identity are “not inaccurate.”

At the time of his disappearance, Dawes was a freelance photographer. He traveled to Syria in September 2012 via Turkey, according to the FBI.   Dawes had fought alongside opponents of Moammar Gaddafi’s government in 2011, the Post reported.

The Syrian government is suspected of holding other Americans, including former U.S. Marine Austin Tice, 33, of Houston, who also disappeared in 2012.

“We continue to work through the Czechs on the ground to get information on the welfare and whereabouts of Austin Tice. It’s something we raise all the time,” Toner said. “We can’t provide any additional details at this time.”

“We are obviously in direct contact with his family as well as the families of many U.S. citizens detained there.”

Toner said the release of Dawes will not necessarily lead to the release of other detained Americans.

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