This visit is the first of its kind for an American official meeting with officials in the Syrian government since the outbreak of the crisis 9 years ago. Citing officials from Donald Trump’s administration, the US official is “Kash Patel”, a deputy assistant to Trump and the top White House counterterrorism official.
“Patel” has visited Damascus early this year and discussed with Syrian officials the file of American citizens who disappeared in Syria during the war, and the possibility of searching for them, especially the independent American journalist “Austin Tice” and the American therapist, “Majd Kamalmaz.”
“Tice” went missing in 2012 while he was in “Daraya” area, Damascus countryside after the armed factions took control over it. No information has been received about him except for a video clip published by his kidnappers, who appear to be takfiri factions, while “Kamalmaz” disappeared in 2017 in the vicinity of Damascus and has not been heard from since.
The US administration officials have not met government officials in Syria since the outbreak of the Syrian war, as the US administration in 2012 under “Obama” has cut off all relations with Damascus, while “Trump” administration continued to antagonize the Syrian government and imposed severe sanctions against it, most notably the Caesar Act. However, the file of disappeared Americans in Syria remained present as a factor pushing the US administration to communicate, even secretly, with Syrian government officials.