In August 2012, Austin made his way just south of Damascus to write his final pieces. He planned to depart for Lebanon on August 14, three days after his 31st birthday. He got into a car in the Damascus suburb of Darayya to make the trip, but shortly after leaving was detained at a check point.
This image made from video released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a medical worker giving toddlers oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April 8, 2018. Syrian opposition activists and rescuers said Sunday that a poison gas attack on a rebel-held town near the capital.