Syria Releases American Citizen Held for 2 Months


Syria Releases American Citizen Held for 2 Months

BEIRUT, Lebanon — An American who was held captive in Syria for two months has been reunited with his family, his parents said on Friday.

The American, Sam Goodwin, 30, had traveled to Syria as part of a personal quest to visit every country in the world, according to a person familiar with the details of his case.

There was no information available on Friday about how Mr. Goodwin was detained, or by whom. His parents said in a brief statement that Abbas Ibrahim, the head of Lebanese internal security, had helped mediate his release.

“We are grateful to be reunited with our son Sam,” the parents, Thomas and Ann Goodwin, said in a statement. “Sam is healthy and with his family.”

“Having spent the past seven years based in both Singapore and Dubai, I have traveled to 180 countries and am aiming to complete my quest to travel to all 193 within this calendar year,” he wrote this year.

A handful of Americans are being held in Syria, but most of their families have kept quiet about their status while they attempt to negotiate their release, making it difficult to track how many there are. Before Friday, Mr. Goodwin was not publicly known to be among them.

The best-known exception is Austin Tice, a freelance journalist and Marine veteran who had gone to Syria to report on the impact of the civil war on ordinary Syrians. A few days before he was due to leave the country in August 2012, he was detained at a checkpoint outside Damascus. He remains missing.

Another is a clinical psychologist with dual American and Syrian citizenship, Majd Kamalmaz, who his family has said disappeared in Syria while on a trip to see relatives in Damascus in February 2017. He is believed to have been detained at a government checkpoint.

Both sets of parents have pleaded for President Trump to intervene. Mr. Trump has made a point of securing the release of American hostages around the world, including from Egypt and North Korea. But the United States has had no diplomatic relations with Syria since soon after the eruption of the country’s civil war, and communicates with the government in Damascus through the Czech ambassador.

The Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year, has killed at least half a million people and forced about 11 million more to flee their homes.

A welcome page on Mr. Goodwin’s website says it includes a “database of the highlights and lowlights” of his travels, and notes, “there have been plenty of the latter.”


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