President Reagan firmly told Syrian President Hafez Assad this week that the United States expected his help in winning the release of seven Americans still held captive in Lebanon, administration sources said.
Assad reacted negatively to Reagan’s call and “didn’t like being told” by the United States what he was expected to do, the sources added.
One official said that Reagan delivered to Assad a lot of “straight talk” about the need to release the other seven hostages, but that the Syrian president was not receptive.
Assad played a crucial role in winning the release of 39 Americans held hostage in Beirut after the hi jacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 847. Earlier this week, administration officials said they believe that Assad would work “in earnest” to free the remaining seven hostages held by Islamic extremist groups in Lebanon.
But the Syrian president’s cool response to Reagan could indicate that he does not intend to be as cooperative in winning re: lease of the seven as he was in gaining freedom for the 39 captives who came home this week.
Article extracted from this publication >> July 12, 1985