American citizen held in Syria by Assad forces freed, family says

The man was visiting the country in May on tour when he was taken.

July 26, 2019, 2:04 PM

The family of an American citizen who was held in Syria says he has been freed after months in captivity of President Bashar al Assad's regime.

"We are grateful to be reunited with our son Sam. Sam is healthy and with his family," Thomas and Ann Goodwin said in a statement of their 30-year-old son.

Goodwin was taken off the street in May in Qamishli, as he was visiting Syria in a bid to visit every country in the world, a source close to the family and a U.S. official told ABC News.

A self-described expat, entrepreneur and world traveler, Goodwin has been to over 180 countries and had hoped to visit all 193 by the end of 2019, according to his blog. He had already visited other dangerous hot spots like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea.

"We are forever indebted to Lebanese General Abbas Ibrahim and to all others who helped secure the release of our son," the Goodwin family said, adding, "We will have more to say at a later date. Right now, we appreciate our privacy as we reconnect with Sam."

PHOTO: Sam Goodwin, 30, is pictured in an undated photo released by his family.
Sam Goodwin, 30, is pictured in an undated photo released by his family.
Courtesy Goodwin Family

Goodwin is still in the region and hasn't returned to the U.S. yet, the source said.

U.S. citizens are urged to not travel to Syria, which the State Department designates a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" country. Kidnappings by both the Assad regime and terror groups like ISIS have been common throughout the country's ongoing war.

American journalist Austin Tice is still believed to be held in Syria, while a Chicago-based Syrian American woman was killed while in Syrian regime custody in 2016.