The United States and Syria held secret negotiations, according to “The Cradle” website, according to a senior diplomat in the Arab League. According to him, the talks held in Oman took place between Washington and several countries in West Asia, including security figures from both countries, and representatives of the foreign ministries.
During the talks, Syrian officials demanded a complete withdrawal of the US military from the country. This, at a time when, according to estimates, approximately 2,000 American soldiers are still stationed on Syrian soil, across 22 different American bases located throughout the country. During the talks held in the city of Muscat, the source emphasized that the American envoy, for his part, emphasized again to the Syrians that he has information that the journalist Austin Tice, who was kidnapped about 11 years ago, is still alive and is in a detention center of the Syrian army. However, the Syrian representative insisted that he had no such information about the journalist, and that Damascus expressed its willingness to make all efforts to reveal what happened to him.
Austin Pilot (Photo: Vertical)
Earlier this month, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, revealed that Washington had held talks with Syria, through the mediation of a third country, in order to find the pilot. According to the sources briefed on the details, the White House is convinced that Damascus knows the whereabouts of the American citizen. The sources also stated that Washington and Damascus began secret talks during the Trump administration. However, the talks broke down after the former president declared his intention to “kill” Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In addition, the senior diplomat noted that the secret talks that took place in the past between Damascus and Washington were carried out through the former Director General of Lebanese General Security, Abbas Ibrahim, and that there were direct meetings between the countries, one of them in Damascus. According to the sources, the only issue that the American side did not touch on in the talks, was the fate of US-backed Kurdish militias such as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The report comes only a few days after the United States announced that it opposes the return of Syria to the Arab League, and the renewal of Arab countries’ ties with the Assad regime. He also emphasized that “the United States has informed its allies that it will not normalize its relations with Damascus, and that the sanctions will remain in force. The Wall Street Journal reported that American officials stated that the decision to return Syria to the Arab League “represents a rejection of American interests in the region.”