US welcomes release of American citizen in Syria

World Friday 08/April/2016 21:06 PM
By: Times News Service
US welcomes release of American citizen in Syria

Washington/Beirut: The US State Department on Friday welcomed the release of an American citizen held by Syrian authorities and said it was working to get more information on another who went missing there in 2012.
State Department spokesman John Kirby announced the release in a statement.
Russia played a role in the release of the US citizen and the United States had "periodic contact" with the Syrian government, the US State Department said.
"We are appreciative of efforts on the part of the Russian government that it undertook on behalf of this US citizen in Syria," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at a briefing.
The Washington Post, citing two US officials, reported earlier Friday that Syria's government had released Kevin Dawes, who was abducted after travelling to the civil war-ravaged nation in 2012.
Dawes, described by the newspaper as a freelance photographer, was recently allowed to call family and receive care packages, signaling to officials that the Syrian government was moving toward his release, the Post reported.
The newspaper said Dawes' release was seen as a positive sign for American reporter Austin Tice, who also went missing in Syria in 2012.
The State Department is continuing to work through Czech officials in Syria to get information on Tice as well as on other US citizens missing in Syria.
Tice's family declined to comment.
Meanwhile, IS militants began releasing late on Friday some of the scores of cement plant workers they kidnapped northeast of Damascus this week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Local municipality officials in two nearby towns managed to secure an agreement for IS to release 170 workers it had been holding since Wednesday, the Britain-based Observatory said.
IS seized the workers after launching an attack on Syrian government forces in the area where the cement plant is located, near the town of Dumeir.
Syrian state television said IS had kidnapped 300 workers and contractors. The Observatory said 140 workers had fled before the fighters arrived.
IS's Amaq news agency said on Friday the group freed nearly 300 workers, but had executed four of them for being from the Druze minority.