TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - “Damascus welcomed the first official American figure from one of [the US] security apparatuses, without publicizing it,” the Lebanese al-Akhbar daily newspaper reported.
The daily also reported that the unidentified US official, traveling by land from Lebanon, spent a few hours in Syria before returning to Beirut.
According to the report, the official “arrived in Beirut earlier this week and went to Syria by land on Tuesday, accompanied by Lebanese security officials to the Syrian capital.”
It said that Syrian officials remain reticent to meet with American officials until the US government alters its foreign policy with regard to Syria, where Washington has long pursued a regime change.
Syrian and US officials have not yet made any comments on the report.
If confirmed the visit would be the first known instance of a high-ranking American official to meet with Syrian officials in the capital in half a decade.
In January 2016, Brett H. McGurk, the US special envoy to the international coalition against the Daesh terrorist group visited Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria.
The visit was described by The New York Times as the first known by a high-ranking US official to the country since a Washington-led coalition began its air raids in Syria.
The US-led coalition of 68 nations has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. Such air raids began in Iraq in August of the same year.
The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The US has long been accused of colluding with Daesh to provide safe passage and logistic support to the members of the Takfiri group in conflict zones.
US blocking humanitarian aid in Syria: Russia
Meanwhile on Friday, Russia accused the US of committing a “war crime” in Syria, saying the American forces deployed to Syria had hindered the flow of aid to Syrian refugees.
“The most severe humanitarian situation remains in the al-Tanf region,” the Russian Defense ministry’s Syria reconciliation center said, referring to a garrison where the Americans have a military base.
The US has declared an expanse stretching 55 kilometers (3 miles) around the al-Tanf area a “de-confliction zone,” only letting in forces allied to Washington and blocking out the Syrian army.
Tanf is located in a zone, where Syria, Iraq and Jordan’s borders meet, and is, hence, of paramount strategic importance.
The Russian center said that tens of thousands of Syrian refugees from the al-Rukban refugee camp on the Jordanian border are deprived of humanitarian aid because of the United States, which “illegally placed their military base there and forbids approach within 55 kilometers (35 miles) under the threat of death.”
“The actions of the US military and the so-called international coalition in al-Tanf are a gross violation of international humanitarian law and could qualify as a war crime,” it said in a statement.
Earlier this month Moscow accused the US of supporting Daesh terrorist and enabling them to mount counter-offensive attacks in eastern Syria from near the al-Tanf garrison.
Last month, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the US is allowing Daesh to operate “under its nose” in Syria, calling on Washington to explain why terrorists enjoy freedom of movement in al-Tanf, on the key highway connecting Damascus with the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.