American missing in Syria in 2017 presumed dead, daughter says

A A US citizen who went missing while traveling in Syria seven years ago is presumed dead, the man’s daughter said Saturday.

Maryam Kamalmas told The Associated Press that eight senior U.S. officials had revealed specific and highly reliable intelligence that her father, Majd, a psychotherapist from Texas, was believed to have died earlier this month.

During the meeting in Washington, officials said their level of confidence in her father’s death was a “high nine” on a scale of one to 10. He said he asked if other Americans detained amid such credible reports had ever been successfully rescued and was told no.

“What more do I want? There were a lot of high-ranking officials that we had to confirm that he was really gone. There was no way to beat around the bush,” Mariam Kamalmaz said.

Jan. Maryam Kamalmas holds a photo of her father with his 14 grandchildren in Grand Prairie, Texas on May 17, 2024. US officials have developed specific and highly reliable intelligence. Majd Kamalmaz is an American citizen who went missing seven years ago. Maryam Kamalmaz said on May 18 that the traveler had died in Syria.

Julio Cortez / AP

He said authorities told him they believed the death occurred several years ago, during his father’s captivity. In 2020, officials told the family they had reason to believe he died of heart failure in 2017, but the family remained hopeful and US authorities continued their pursuit.

But “till this meeting, they have not confirmed to us how reliable the information is and the various stages (of verification) it has to go through,” he said.

She did not describe the intelligence she had learned.

The FBI Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell told CBS News on Saturday that “no matter how much time passes,” it is “working on behalf of the victims and their families to recover all American hostages and to support the families of their loved ones held captive. Missing.”

Then Kamalmas The 59-year-old disappeared in February 2017 while traveling to Syria to visit an elderly family member. The FBI said he was stopped at a Syrian government checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus and has not been heard from since.

Kamalmas immigrated to the United States when he was six years old and became a dual citizen.

“We’re Americans in every way. Don’t let that fool you. I mean, this is your country, and my father always taught us that we’re not going anywhere. We’re all born and raised here,” Mariam Kamalmaz said. CBS News in 2019.

A White House spokesman declined to comment Saturday and spokespeople for the FBI, which investigates kidnappings overseas, did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Kamalmas is one of many Americans who have gone missing in Syria. Including journalist Austin TiceDisappeared in 2012 at a checkpoint in contested territory west of Damascus. Syria has publicly denied holding Americans captive.

In 2020, in the final months of the Trump administration, Senior officials have gone to Damascus For a high-level meeting aimed at negotiating the release of Americans. But the meeting proved fruitless, with the Syrians providing no substantiating life information and making demands that US officials considered unreasonable. US officials say they are continuing to try to bring Dice home.

The New York Times first reported the death of Majd Kamalmas.

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