Airstrikes kill 22 at market in Idlib

A picture taken on March 22, 2018 shows Syrian civilians gathering at a scene of destruction following an air strike in the rebel-held town of Harem in the northwestern Idlib province. (AFP / Aaref Watad)
Updated 22 March 2018

Airstrikes kill 22 at market in Idlib

BEIRUT: Airstrikes, likely to be Russian, on Thursday killed 22 civilians in a market in the northwestern province of Idlib, which is largely controlled by radical fighters, a monitor said.
The strikes hit the area of Harem, which is controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Britain-based monitor says it identifies who carried out airstrikes based on flight patterns, munitions used, and aircraft.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition fighters have released 13 of their prisoners to the regime.
The men, who identified themselves to the media as soldiers and civilians attached to the Syrian Army, who were captured by opposition fighters in the battle for Harasta, cried in relief. They thanked God, the Syrian Army, and President Bashar Assad for their freedom.
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV said the regime released five “terrorists” in exchange.


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.