Top Trump administration official met with Assad regime over imprisoned Americans

19 Octobre, 2020, 21:27 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Top Trump administration official met with Assad regime over imprisoned Americans

Top White House counterterrorism official Kash Patel recently went to Damascus to discuss the release of United States citizens with the Syrian government, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed Trump administration officials.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, named the official as Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump and the top White House counterterrorism official, saying he had flown to Damascus.

The White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Journal reported that Patel was seeking the release of freelance journalist Austin Tice, who disappeared in 2012, and Majd Kamalmaz, an American psychotherapist missing in Syria since 2017.

A top Trump administration official met with the Assad regime in Damascus this fall in an effort to secure the release of American prisoners believed to be held by the Syrian dictator, two administration officials confirmed to CNN.

Citing unnamed sources, Al Watan said the trip was not the first visit by high-level USA diplomats and that three similar visits to Damascus have taken place in past years.

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Tice's family has publicly urged the Trump administration to engage with the Syrian regime.

"It is emblematic of how President Trump has made it a major priority to bring Americans home who have been detained overseas", said the official, who was confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Tice disappeared in Syria in August 2012.

They cited John Bolton's recent memoir, in which the former national security adviser said Trump had a "constant desire" to speak with Assad about the hostages but both Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo considered the plan "undesirable".

According to the WSJ, Patel helped agree on a deal that led to the release last week of two Americans held by Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen in exchange for the return of more than 200 Houthi supporters.

On Friday, the head of Lebanon's general security directorate, Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, met with US hostage envoy Robert O'Brien in Washington, sources said.



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