Lebanon secures release of American citizen from Syria – security official

Lebanon secures release of American citizen from Syria – security official
Lebanon secures release of American citizen from Syria - security official

Syrian authorities have released a U.S. citizen and he has been handed back to his family, thanks to the mediation of Lebanon, a Lebanese security official said on Friday.

The security official did not reveal the name of the released American, but said it was not Austin Tice, a journalist who disappeared in Syria in 2012.

The official said that Lebanon's security chief Abbas Ibrahim had conducted the mediation.

"Lebanon has worked on mediating through General Abbas Ibrahim to release an American and he was handed over to his family already. The American is not Tice because it is not known where he is," the security official said.

Several U.S. citizens have been held in Syria since the war began there in 2011, including people held by jihadist groups such as Islamic State.

The United States has declined tosay who it believes is holding Tice, but has said it believes he is alive andhas sought the help of the Syrian government's close ally Russia to free him.

Last year the family of anotherAmerican, Majd Kamalmaz, told the New York Times that he had disappeared at agovernment checkpoint in Damascus in 2017.

Last month Ibrahim flew to Iranto complete the release and repatriation of Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizenwith permanent residency in the United States who was detained there in2015. 

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