Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Fired for Meeting U.S. Diplomat
Syria's Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil met with U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford and appears to have now lost his job because the meeting was unauthorized by the Assad regime.
A U.S. official confirms to ABC News that Jamil and Ford met on Saturday in Geneva to discuss talks for a negotiated settlement of Syria's two and half year civil war that have come to be referred to as "Geneva 2." The official was unable to provide further detail about their discussions.
The official described Jamil as the head of the "patriotic opposition," a group of political parties opposed to Assad's rule who have not joined in the armed rebellion against his regime.
Ford continues to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Syria though he operates stateside and is the State Department's point man on all things Syria and regularly meets with Syrian opposition leaders.
On Tuesday, Syrian State Television announced that Jamil had been dismissed from his post citing a vague reference to activities not coordinated with the regime. It can be inferred from the official statement that Jamil's meeting with Ford was unauthorized by the Assad regime.
The Geneva 2 talks would bring representatives from the regime of regime Bashar Al Assad and the Syrian opposition to the same table.
Despite reports that the talks might be held in late November, U.S. officials have said that nothing has been been finalized because the Syrian opposition is split about whether to show up for the talks.