US official went to Syria in search of Individuals’ launch: Report

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A US media report says US officers hoped a take care of President al-Assad might free freelance journalist and a therapist.

A White Home official travelled to Damascus earlier this yr for secret conferences with the Syrian authorities to hunt the discharge of no less than two United States residents, a Trump administration official was quoted as saying.

The US official who travelled to Syria was recognized as Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump and the highest White Home counterterrorism official, saying he had flown to Damascus.

“It’s emblematic of how President Trump has made it a serious precedence to convey Individuals dwelling who’ve been detained abroad,” the US official, who wished to stay nameless, instructed Reuters information company on Sunday, confirming a report within the Wall Avenue Journal (WSJ).

WSJ, citing Trump administration officers and others aware of the negotiations, described Patel’s journey as the primary time in additional than a decade {that a} high-level US official met with authorities officers of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Syria erupted into civil struggle almost a decade in the past after al-Assad started a brutal crackdown on protesters calling for an finish to his household’s rule in 2011.

The newspaper stated US officers hoped a take care of al-Assad might free Austin Tice, a contract journalist and former US marine officer, who disappeared whereas reporting in Syria in 2012, and Majd Kamalmaz, a Syrian-American therapist, who disappeared after being stopped at a Syrian authorities checkpoint in 2017.

One among Kamalmaz’s sons, Ibrahim, instructed the WSJ that he welcomed Patel’s journey as a optimistic step in making an attempt to convey his father dwelling.

“This administration is dedicated to our dad’s case, and we proceed to talk with officers on the highest ranges of the US authorities to convey dad dwelling,” stated Ibrahim.

In response to the WSJ, Patel helped agree on a deal that led to the discharge final week of two Individuals held by Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen in change for the return of greater than 200 Houthi supporters.

No less than 4 different Individuals are believed to be held by the Syrian authorities, the newspaper reported, however little is understood about these circumstances.

The WSJ reported that Trump wrote al-Assad a letter in March, proposing a “direct dialogue” on Tice.

The publication added that Lebanon’s high safety chief, Abbas Ibrahim, met final week on the White Home with nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien to debate the Individuals held in Syria, based on folks concerned within the talks.

Having served as an necessary mediator between the US and Syria, Abbas helped to safe the discharge final yr of US citizen Sam Goodwin, who was held for greater than two months whereas visiting Syria.

Talks with Syria haven’t gotten very far, based on folks briefed on them, the newspaper reported, saying Damascus has repeatedly demanded Washington withdraw all its forces from the nation.