Veteran US diplomat Fred Hof, the US Special Advisor on Transition in Syria, is resigning his post, Al Arabiya Washington bureau chief Hisham Melham reports.
Hof’s last day at State is Friday, a former senior American official told Al-Monitor Tuesday.
Hof has “worked tirelessly to unify Syrian opposition,” Melhem wrote on Twitter Tuesday, calling the diplomat a “real Mensch,” and his departure a tremendous loss to the Syrian people.
Hof joined the Obama administration in 2009 as an advisor on Syria and Lebanon aiding the small team of US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, who resigned last year.
More recently Hof had been traveling in the region almost constantly, working in close coordination with US Syria envoy Robert Ford on a post-Assad Syria ‘day after’ transition plan.
Hof initially told Mitchell he would commit to two years in the job, but extended his work as the Syria conflict deepened, a source familiar with his decision to leave told Al-Monitor, adding Hof’s spouse was eager for him to return to civilian life.
News of the resignation comes as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met in New York Tuesday with Lakhdar Brahimi, the new joint UN/Arab League Syria envoy. Brahimi reportedly gave Clinton a bleak assessment of the conflict.
“I do not have a full plan for the moment, but I have a few ideas,” Brahimi said Tuesday, Reuters reported.
“The situation in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse,” the Algerian diplomat continued. “There is a stalemate … but I think we will find an opening in the not too distant future.”