Syria's President Assad Confirms Rare Direct Talks With Washington

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024 - 01:00 AM

Via The Cradle

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Foreign Minister of the south Caucasus republic Abkhazia during an interview published on 21 April that Damascus holds dialogue with Washington "from time to time." In response to a question from Abkhazian Foreign Minister Inal Ardzinba on whether there has been an opportunity for Syria to "restore dialogue with the collective west," Assad said: "America is currently illegally occupying part of our land, financing terrorism, and supporting Israel, which also occupies our land."

"But we meet with them from time to time, although these meetings do not lead us to anything," the Syrian president said, adding, however, that "everything will change."

Syrian Presidency Telegram/AP

As part of regime change efforts against Damascus in 2011, Washington, along with Turkey, Gulf states, and several other countries, sponsored extremist groups with the aim of overthrowing the Syrian government. 

With the help of Russia, Iran, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Damascus has regained control over large swathes of Syria, which were under the control of ISIS and other US-backed groups. 

Under the pretext of fighting ISIS, the US army occupied Syrian oilfields in the north of the country in 2015 in coordination with its Kurdish proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – one year after the launching of an international military coalition in Iraq and Syria. 

In May 2023, a senior diplomatic official in the Arab League revealed exclusively to The Cradle that Washington and Damascus were holding secret, direct negotiations in the Omani capital of Muscat. 

During the talks, Syrian officials mainly pressed for the complete withdrawal of US occupation troops from the country.

The diplomat added that "secret talks took place in previous years between Damascus and Washington, but most of them were through mediators, such as the former director general of the Lebanese General Security, Abbas Ibrahim. Direct meetings also took place between the two countries, one of which was in the Syrian capital, Damascus." However, the number of direct meetings remained limited.

The secret talks in Muscat also touched on Austin Tice, a US citizen who entered Syria illegally via the Turkish border in 2012. Not long after, Tice disappeared in the territory of armed opposition groups that were fighting the Syrian government.

"There is always hope: even when we know there will be no results we must try," he said when asked about the possibility of mending ties with the West. — Times of Israel

During the Muscat talks, the source stressed that "the American envoy repeatedly confirmed that he has information that Austin Tice is alive and in a Syrian army detention center. However, the Syrian delegation insisted that it had no information about Tice, with Damascus expressing its readiness to make all possible efforts to reveal his fate."