WASHINGTON (AP) — Backtracking from earlier comments, the Obama administration says it does not know the whereabouts of Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, who disappeared this week.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner now says U.S. officials have seen "various reports" regarding Makdissi's location but cannot confirm any of them — except that he's not in the United States.

Toner had said Wednesday the U.S. understood the longtime foreign ministry spokesman was in London, but British officials later denied he was there.

Another official said Makdissi might be in a Persian Gulf country, but stressed that Washington was not tracking his movements. That official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.