White House official met with Syria govt. to ‘secure Americans' release’

October 19, 2020 - 22:55

The Wall Street Journal says a senior White House official took a rare trip to Syria earlier this year to allegedly help release a number of Americans, who are reportedly held by Damascus.

The paper carried the report on Sunday, citing officials with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump and others familiar with the reported negotiations.

The secret talks between Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to Trump, and officials with the Syrian government took place in Damascus, administration officials told the Journal.

It called the trip the first one to be made by such a high-level U.S. official to Syria in more than a decade, alleging that while in Syria, the official met with Syrian authorities in the Arab country’s capital.

The purported talks, the Journal said, was expected to help release Austin Tice and Majd Kamalmaz.

The daily said Tice was what it called a “freelance journalist” and former Marine officer and Kamalmaz, a Syrian-American “therapist.”

Observers say notwithstanding the titles that American officials and sources assign to the U.S. nationals -- who strangely happen to be present in conflict zones at critical junctures -- many are later found to be on the payroll of Washington’s military or intelligence apparatus and tasked with sabotage.

These have included the White Helmets, a Western-backed so-called aid group active in Syria that is blamed by Damascus and its ally Russia for staging false flag chemical attacks inside the Arab country to justify foreign intervention.

On Sunday, Reuters cited a Trump administration official as confirming the Journal’s report.

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