A Vermont father says his 21-year-old son, a student at Middlebury College, is missing in Syria, where antigovernment uprisings have broken out in response to a wave of prodemocracy movements in the region.
Pathik "Tik" Root, who has been studying Arabic in Damascus, last communicated with his father March 16 and is believed to have gone missing two days later, according to his father, Tom Root of Ripton.
Root told the Burlington Free Press he had no information that his son had become involved in antigovernment demonstrations in Syria, but he said that it would be consistent with his son's outlook to observe the protests.
Root thinks maybe his son was watching a demonstration and was picked up.
State Department spokeswoman Rosemary MacRay says the Bureau of Consular Affairs is aware of Root's disappearance and is working with Syrian authorities to resolve the case.
Root opted to continue his Arabic studies in Syria after he and other Middlebury students left Egypt. He started an independent study course at Damascus University last week, his father told the Free Press.
The protests — four protesters were killed in the city of Daraa, near the Jordan border last Friday — caught him by surprise, his father said.
"It was a surprise to him as much as anyone that it's getting complicated," Tom Root said.
At Middlebury, friends and fellow students were eager for news. "Everyone at the college is anxious to hear that Tik is safe, and we look forward to receiving word when his family hears more about his status," said college spokeswoman Sarah Ray.