James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement, is retiring from his post, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday.
Jeffrey, a respected veteran diplomat who served as ambassador to Iraq, Turkey and Albania, came out of retirement in 2018 to serve the Trump administration as the point person on Syria. He at times butted heads with President Donald Trump’s policies, particularly with Trump’s numerous attempts to withdraw troops from Syria. Despite the disagreements, Jeffrey’s portfolio grew in 2019 to include representing the administration in the coalition combating the Islamic State.
Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, will take on Jeffrey’s responsibilities on ISIS after his departure, Pompeo announced. Sales currently leads the department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and is Pompeo’s main international counterterrorism adviser.