US lifts travel warning for Syria

The US Department of State has lifted its advisories warning American travelers of security concerns in Syria.

“After carefully assessing the current situation in Syria, we determined that circumstances didn’t merit extending the travel warning,” said Tracy Roberts Pounds, a spokeswoman at the US Embassy in Damascus.

Though Washington tries to boost ties with a country viewed as a key to peace in the region, Syria remains on the US-made list of the “countries sponsoring terrorism,” a designation made in 1979.

US observers have long insisted that the so-called US list of the states sponsoring terrorism, which included Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea, is a political tool to punish states that do not submit to US regional interests.

The country also remains under US sanctions, first imposed by former US President George W. Bush and renewed by President Barack Obama in May.

The US continues to claim concerns about Syria’s nuclear activity, although the US President Barack Obama announced this week that a nominated career diplomat will become the first US ambassador to Damascus since 2005.

“We are going to have an ambassador there who will engage Syria on the full range of issues, those areas where we think there’s opportunity for cooperation and those areas where we have concerns about Syria’s ongoing activity,” Obama told reporters Friday in Washington.

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