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Parents: Student from Vermont missing in Syria

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Tik Root has been missing March 18. He was last seen in Damascus, Syria, during a demonstration.
  • Tik Root, 21, was last seen on March 18
  • His parents believe he was watching a demonstration in Damascus
  • Syrians say they hope to resolve the case "as soon as possible"

Tik Root's parents talk more about their son in a blog post for CNN's "In the Arena."

(CNN) -- The U.S. embassy in Syria is seeking information on the whereabouts of an American college student whose parents believe was detained by authorities there during a demonstration.

Tik Root, 21, of Ripton, Vermont, disappeared March 18 in Damascus, his father, Tom, told CNN's "In the Arena" Friday night.

The Middlebury College student is studying this spring in an Arabic program through Damascus University.

Tom Root said his son likely watched a protest, but would not have participated.

"We suspect he was picked up on the periphery," the elder Root told CNN's Eliot Spitzer, adding he has received no word on the location or condition of Tik.

The Syrian Embassy in Washington said in a statement Friday that it "was recently made aware of Mr. Pathik Root's situation and has been following it very closely ever since. We have been in touch with Mr. Root's parents, his state Senator, and the U.S. embassy in Syria. This is an unfortunate incident that we hope will be resolved as soon as possible."

A U.S. State Department official said, "we have been in contact with Syrian authorities several times regarding reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained. The Syrian authorities have not confirmed that a U.S. citizen is being held at this time. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus continues to seek information regarding the case with Syrian authorities."

Tik is an extraordinary athlete and student, his father said. The younger Root is studying international politics and economics at Middlebury.