"Ambassador Robert Ford has completed his consultations in Washington and is returning to Damascus this evening," a senior US State Department official told reporters.
- 'US ready to help Syria after Assad falls'
- Syria accepts Arab League observer request
- Hamas scales back its presence in Syria
"He will continue the work he was doing previously; namely, delivering the United States' message to the people of Syria; providing reliable reporting on the situation on the ground; and engaging with the full spectrum of Syrian society on how to end the bloodshed and achieve a peaceful political transition," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
"We believe his presence in the country is among the most effective ways to send the message that the United States stands with the people of Syria," he said.
The administration has argued that his presence in Syria is important for advancing US policy goals and serving as a witness to the violence there. Syria had responded by recalling its ambassador.
Ford's presence in Syria was a symbolic part of President Barack Obama's effort to engage Damascus, which was without a US ambassador for years after the Bush administration broke ties over Syria's alleged role in the 2005 assassination of a political candidate in neighboring Lebanon. The official commented on grounds of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Clinton met with Syrian opposition elements (Photo: AFP)
Also Tuesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a rare meeting with Syrian opposition figures.
In Geneva, Clinton told a group of seven Syrian pro-reform activists that she wanted to hear their plans to establish a new democratic government if they are successful in prying President Bashar Assad and his regime from power.
Meanwhile, the ABC network said it will air an exclusive interview with Bashar Assad on Wednesday – the first he has given to US media since the outbreak of the uprising in Syria nine months ago. The ABC statement noted that Veteran journalist Barbara Walters will interview Assad.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop