BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – The semi-official newspaper Al-Watan quoted a local source as saying that the information reported by American media about the visit of U.S. officials to Damascus and the meeting with Syrian officials is correct.
According to Al-Watan, the Syrian source, who described it as well-informed, mentioned that senior American officials visited the capital Damascus recently, with the aim of searching for several files,.
The newspaper said that the sources revealed that both Roger Carstens, U.S. Special Envoy of the President for the kidnapped, and Kesh Patel, U.S. Assistant to the President, visited Damascus in August and met General Ali Mamlouk, who is the head of the National Security Bureau in his office in Damascus.
The U.S. officials reportedly discussed a wide range of issues and presented a number of offers and requests.
The sources, who preferred to remain anonymous, continued: “This is not the first visit by high-ranking American officials, and that it was preceded by three similar visits to Damascus during the past months and years.”
According to what Al-Watan published, the American officials “were surprised by the same Syrian position, which is based on the principle that there is neither discussion nor cooperation with Washington before discussing the file of the withdrawal of the American occupation forces from eastern Syria and the emergence of real signs of this withdrawal on the ground, and that Damascus refused to discuss American sanctions.”
According to the newspaper, the two American officials tried to win Damascus’ cooperation with Washington in the file of the missing U.S. journalist, Austin Tice, who disappeared near the capital in 2012.
The Syrian newspaper quoted information saying that Austin Tice “is not a journalist, but an agent contracted with the American intelligence, who entered the Syrian territories by way of smuggling in 2012 and visited many areas that had gone out of the control of the Syrian army at that time, and arrived in the Eastern Ghouta region with the task of preparing and preparing jihadists to fight the Syrian forces,”
The Al-Watan sources also indicated that “Damascus is wary of the pattern of these American visits as it does not trust them or their possible results, especially since the Syrian leadership is aware of the influence of the American lobbies on American presidents, their decisions, and their general policies.”