Syrian diplomat held up in Washington Airport
Washington's Dulles International Airport main terminal (Source: Wikimedia Commons/David Benbennick)
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A Syrian diplomat sent to the United States by President Bashar al-Assad is being held at Washington's Dulles International Airport, awaiting deportation back to Syria, U.S. media reported on Wednesday.
Diplomat Ali Daghman was mistakenly granted a visa then it was revoked, Voice Of American (VOA) reported.
VOA quoted a U.S. official as saying that the United States has “taken steps to further restrict entry of even the few remaining Syrian officials staffing the embassy in Washington.”
Granting the visa to the Syrian diplomat prompted anger from members of Congress and exiled Syrian opposition members who saw in the move a lack of the Obama’s administration’s commitment to the overthrow of the Assad’s regime, according to VOA.
The United States closed its embassy in Damascus in 2011, prompting Syria to withdraw its ambassador from Washington. In June 2012, the United States expelled Syrian charge d'affaires, Zuheir Jabbour from Washington, thereby shutting down all formal diplomatic channel with the Syrian regime.