American Student Held By Syria, His Father Says
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WASHINGTON -- An American student missing in Syria for several days amid a swirl of protests has been detained by Syrian security officers, the man's father said Saturday.
Pathik Root, a 21-year-old Middlebury College student spending the semester in Damascus, is "safe and well" in the hands of the Syrian government, according to a message posted on the college's Web site by his father, Tom Root.
Meanwhile, American officials said Saturday evening that they were investigating reports that a second American had been detained by Syria's repressive government during the recent unrest.
"U.S. Embassy personnel will reach out to the appropriate Syrian authorities to obtain more information" about the second American, said Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman. Mr. Toner did not identify the second American. The Associated Press said that relatives of a 32-year-old from Austin, Tex., Mohammed Radwan, said he had been detained. It cited a report by Syria's state news agency that the man had confessed to selling video footage of the protests and to having visited Israel, which is not allowed by Syria.
A cousin of Mr. Radwan told The A.P. that she last heard from him last week when he sent a Twitter message from a mosque in Damascus where Syrian security forces were battling protesters.
Syria's government has blamed foreigners for stirring up the wave of protests over the past week. The gatherings turned bloody when government troops fired on demonstrators.
First Published March 27, 2011 12:01 am