US Senator John Kerry met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Saturday in Damascus Saturday, two weeks after US President Barack Obama extended sanctions against Syria, DPA reported.
No official statement was released about the three-hour meeting, the al-Jazeera TV website reported.
The visit also comes without confirmation from Washington about the earlier announcement of the appointment of Robert Ford as the first US ambassador to Damascus in five years.
The US two weeks ago extended sanctions for a year in response to allegations of Damascus' support of terrorism, the White House said.
The sanctions, initially introduced in 2004, include a ban on exports to Syria, the blocking of some individuals' property, and a ban on Syrian aircraft landing in US territory.
Since Obama came into office, Washington has sought to improve relations with Syria after they were strained under the administration of former US president George W Bush, who accused Syria on interfering in Lebanon's domestic issues and allowing fighters to cross into Iraq.
However, relations have strained after renewing sanctions and concern expressed by US officials over Israeli allegations that Syria has smuggled Scud missiles to the Lebanese Shiite Group Hizbollah.