The family of a New Hampshire journalist missing in Syria for nearly a year says recent events in that country have given them renewed hope.

James Foley was last seen Nov. 22 in northwestern Syria. He was contributing videos to Agence France-Presse (AH'-zhens frahns PRES') for the media company GlobalPost.

His parents, John and Diane Foley, of Rochester, N.H., were marking James' 40th birthday Friday with a prayer vigil.

 They tell The Associated Press that the Syrian regime's decision to allow United Nations teams in to oversee destruction of chemical weapons gives them hope that they'll find information about their son.

Investigators have said they believe Foley is being held near Damascus with one or more Western journalists. Diane Foley tells the AP they're less sure about that information now.