US President Barack Obama has formally nominated the first American ambassador to Syria in 5 years. Career diplomat Robert Ford will be the first US envoy since officials in the Syrian government were accused of murdering Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The White House announcement came on the eve of a State Department visit to Syria, including a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad. .
"His appointment represents President Obama's commitment to use engagement to advance US interests by improving communication with the Syrian government and people," the White House said in a statement.