Russia says that it acquiesced to a request from President Obama to help secure the release of Americans held in Syria, culminating in the freedom on Friday of an American freelance photographer abducted after he traveled to Syria in 2012.
The U.S. has confirmed the release of Kevin Patrick Dawes, 33, from San Diego. The Washington Post cited two unnamed U.S. officials saying the release involved months of negotiations that included the personal involvement of Secretary of State John Kerry.
Hinting at possible Russian involvement, the Post quoted one State Department official explaining that the Syrian government handed Dawes over to Russian authorities, who in turn flew him out of the country.
Iran’s state-run Press TV quoted a statement from Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who claimed that Obama asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help in securing the release of Americans in Syria. Dawes’s freedom was secured as a result of that request, stated Zakharova.
“Some time ago, US President Barack Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a personal request for assistance in the search for US citizens who could be in Syrian territory,” Zakharova said in a statement on Friday.
“As a result of this work, it was found out that one of them — Kevin [Patrick] Dawes — was being held under arrest for illegal entry into the country and other offenses. In response to our appeal, the Syrian authorities have found it possible to show clemency and release the American on humanitarian grounds.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.