The United States established diplomatic relations with Syria in 1944 following U.S. determination that Syria had achieved effective independence from a French-administered mandate. Syria severed diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967 in the wake of the Arab-Israeli War. Relations were reestablished in 1974. Syria has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since the list’s inception in 1979.
During 1990-2001, the United States and Syria cooperated to a degree on some regional issues, but relations worsened from 2003 to 2009 due to the government’s failure to prevent Syria from becoming a major transit point for foreign fighters entering Iraq, its interference in Lebanese affairs, its human rights record, and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. In early 2009, the United States began to review its Syria policy in light of changes in the country and the region, leading to an effort to engage with Syria to find areas of mutual interest, reduce regional tensions, and promote Middle East peace.
The Syrian government’s brutal response to its people’s call for freedom and dignity in 2011 sparked nation-wide demonstrations and armed conflict that has lasted for years, displacing millions of people within the country and beyond its borders. The U.S. government has repeatedly called for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside and has led the international community’s efforts to work towards a negotiated political solution to the conflict.
The United States remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis caused by the violence in Syria and is providing assistance to help internally displaced persons and refugees fleeing Syria. We also support the Syrian people’s aspirations for a democratic, inclusive, and unified Syria and are providing direct, non-lethal support to the moderate Syrian opposition. The U.S. embassy in Damascus suspended operations in February 2012. For more information on our relationship with Syria, please click here.
Source, United States Department of State, Office of the Historian and Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.