13:48 GMT15 April 2021
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    Relatives of freed US citizen Patrick Kevin Dawes expressed gratitude to the Russian authorities for assistance in securing the release of the young photographer from Syria.

    “We're incredibly grateful for the tireless efforts of the US government over the last three years and the involvement of the Czech and Russian governments in securing Kevin's release,” said the statement emailed by Randy Dawes, who identified himself as Kevin's father, The Associated Press reported.

    On Friday, the US State Department thanked Russia for its assistance in the release of Dawes who was abducted in 2012 after crossing the border from Turkey.

    “Kevin Dawes was transferred to Moscow in a military plane and handed over to US embassy representatives,” the Russian foreign ministry said, AFP reported.

    “Shortly afterwards he left Russia. We hope he doesn't put himself in a similar situation again and that Washington will appreciate Damascus' gesture.”

    Thirty three year-old Kevin is a freelance photographer from California. He went missing in October 2012 in northern Syria.

    The spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova told reporters that Obama appealed to Vladimir Putin with a personal request for assistance in search of the US citizens, who could possibly be in Syria.

    As a result, it became clear that Dawes was kept under arrest for illegal entry into Syria and other offenses.

    In response to Moscow's appeal to the Syrian authorities, Syria decided to “show mercy and release the American on humanitarian grounds.”

    Zakharova also said that on April 1 Dawes was brought to Moscow by Russian military aircraft and was handed over to the representatives of the US embassy, after which he left Russia.


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