(NEW YORK) — Family and colleagues of a freelance reporter from Texas who is traveling in Syria say they have not heard from him in more than a week.
Andrew Tice, 31, a student at Georgetown University Law School and a former Marine, had traveled to Syria for several months to report on the 17-month uprising, filing for a number media outlets including the Washington Post and McClatchy newspaper group.
The Washington Post said it was “focusing intensively on trying to ascertain his whereabouts and ensure his safe return.” It praised Tice for his “important, on the ground reporting.”
McClatchy said it had enlisted the help of the State Department, which said it is working with the Czech embassy since its own has closed.
“Journalists like Andrew take risks every day to deliver the news to the rest of the world,” said McClatchy’s vice president of news, Andrew Gyllenhaal. “Andrew’s reporting on the events in Syria has been particularly powerful and revealing — a reminder of why this work is so vital.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists calls Syria the most dangerous place in the world for reporters to work, counting 16 who have been killed since November.
On Monday, Japanese reporter Mika Yamamoto was shot and killed during the heavy fighting raging in Syria’s commercial center of Aleppo. Two other journalists with her at the time — a Palestinian correspondent and his Turkish photographer — are now missing. The wife of the Palestinian, Bashar Fahmi, who works for the American-funded Al Hurra network, says she was told by witnesses that they are alive and being held by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Tice left the Marine Corps in January after serving as an infantry officer. The Post says he crossed into Syria from Turkey in May and made his way down to Damascus by July. He was spending time with rebel fighters and planned to leave Syria in mid-August.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sugam Pokharel and Tim Hume, CNN
Ashley Fantz, AnneClaire Stapleton and Ed Payne, CNN Newswire