Friday the State Department said that an unidentified American man has been freed by the Syrian government. The person was described as a California freelance photographer, and was held by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to Assistant Secretary of State and department spokesman John Kirby.
“We can confirm and welcome the news that a U.S. citizen was released by Syrian authorities,” Kirby said. “The United States continues to work through every possible means to ensure the safe release of U.S. citizens reported missing or taken hostage in Syria.”
The man has been identified as Kevin Patrick Dawes, 33, of San Diego, who was abducted after traveling to the country in 2012.
The release followed months of negotiations, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Dawes had recently been permitted to call his family and receive care packages, It was not clear if the State Department had been in direct talks with Syria, though Kirby said U.S. officials worked with the Czech mission in Damascus.
A handful of Americans are missing or believed to be held in the embattled country, including former U.S. Marine-turned journalist Austin Tice. Tice was initially believed to be held by Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra, but may have later been transferred to another party. Other Americans held in Syria have not been identified through official channels.