Washington maintained communication with senior officials in Syria for years, trying to find a way to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, The Wall Street Journal reports citing current and former US and Arab officials and diplomats.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The newspaper said on Wednesday that "the US looked for cracks in the [Assad] regime it could exploit to encourage a military coup," while Assad "tried at different times to reach out to the [US] administration to say the US should unite with him to fight terrorism."
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with the army loyal to Assad fighting several opposition factions and militant groups, including Daesh, banned in a range of countries including Russia.
The West and several Middle Eastern countries do not consider Assad to be the legitimate authority of Syria.
A former senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal that the White House was "offering incentives for people to abandon Assad," but by the summer of 2012 this strategy of orchestrating a regime change in Syria had failed.
A US-led international coalition has been launching airstrikes against Daesh targets in Syria since September 2014, without the permission of Damascus or the United Nations. Russia started carrying out precision airstrikes against Daesh in Syria in September 2015, at the request of Assad.
Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution outlining a peace process for Syria following talks between 18 ministers of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG).
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