Obama to send ambassador to Syria, ending four-year hiatus(Read article summary)
Damascus sees the move as a concrete indication that Obama is serious about improving ties. The US hopes to use Syrian leverage against Iran and Hezbollah.
Reports that Washington has decided to reappoint an ambassador to Syria have been welcomed in Damascus. After a four-year diplomatic freeze, analysts here see the development as a sign that President Obama intends to fulfil his pledge to mend relations between the two countries.
“This shows that the administration is becoming more serious about the improvement in relations,” says Thabet Salem, a Syrian political analyst.
The step comes on the back of months of Syrian frustration at the slow pace of US-Syrian reengagement. Damascus had expected a more rapid improvement in ties following Obama’s move to the White House in January.
But in May, economic sanctions on the country were renewed, a step that stung local officials expecting a softening of ties.
Why the US broke off ties
Syria has been without a US ambassador since 2005 when President Bush withdrew the American representative accusing Syria of supporting terrorism and meddling in Iraq and Lebanon.