State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed the news that a U.S. citizen was released by Syrian authorities. The person was identified by the Associated Press and the Washington Post as Kevin Patrick Dawes, a freelance photographer who ended up in one of Syria’s several political prisons.
Kevin Dawes is from San Diego, California, and although it is known that Dawes’ profession is photography, he stated in an interview that he had gone to Libya in June 2011 and eventually took up arms to join the battle against former dictator Muammar Gaddafi; he argues that the Libyan government started to target medical workers.
Dawes never joined the U.S. military but stated that he had many years of experience as a trained marksman. At one point amidst the war in Libya, he had to watch windows and shoot at Libyan scouting forces as a counter sniper. While he was in Libya, many believed that he was a war-tourist as other thought he was a CIA agent. Dawes kept saying that his reasons for being there were simpler.
Arguably, he wanted to “see the world, experience new things (…) ultimately survive.”
Causes and events
33-year old Dawes was abducted in 2012 as he was traveling towards Syria through Turkey. He was allowed to contact his family and to receive food as Syrian and U.S. authorities were working towards his eventual release after months of negotiation.
The photographer’s Twitter account was flooding with articles and retweets against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, as there were also detailed reports about the crimes made by government forces. Supposedly, Dawes had a strong support towards rebel forces on the ongoing civil war.
Dawes is not the only American citizen to be held in Syria, as Austin Tice, another reporter is still signaled as missing.The connection is being made through Czech agents in order to find Tice, as Dawes’ release is a positive sign in this whole endeavor.
Czech forces are the representatives of American interests in Syria since the U.S. embassy in Damascus was closed four years ago due to the worsening of the war. Tice was also reported missing on 2012 in Syria as he was working as a photographer for the Washington Post.
It is believed that Dawes’ abduction was carried by armed groups that are not in direct relationship with the current regime, but Syrian officials have not commented on the subject. Dawes’ family also refused to provide any statement, as U.S. State Department commented that further details could not be revealed due to the status of ongoing negotiations.
Source: Washington Post