BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on a White House official’s “secret visit” to Damascus, pointing out that the Syrian authorities rejected Washington’s request about the American citizens.
Pompeo said in response to a question about the U.S. official’s visit to Damascus that the United States is seeking to push the Syrian government to release the detained American journalist, Austin Tice.
“When we are working on detainees’ cases, we focus our attention on this issue. Our request is for the Syrians to release Mr. Tice and reveal to us what they know. But they chose not to do so,” he said.
This statement comes after the Wall Street Journal reported last Sunday, according to sources in the Trump administration, that the U.S. Deputy Assistant to the President, Kesh Patel, who is a well-known official concerned with combating terrorism at the White House, visited Damascus earlier this year for secret meetings with the Syrian government.
According to Al-Watan, the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad did not meet with Patel and Damascus rejected the latter’s offer.
The newspaper added that Syria demands the U.S. end their sanctions and occupation of Syrian territory before any information can be exchanged.