Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives have met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for talks on developments in the Middle East.
The Republican lawmakers (Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts and Robert Aderholt) said they came to Damascus because they believe there is an opportunity for dialogue with Syria.
They say their talks focused on ending Syrian support for Hamas and Hezbollah and recognizing Israel's right to exist.
They also urged Syria to stop the flow of militants across its border into Iraq.
The Republicans' trip comes ahead of talks in Damascus between Mr. Assad and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi met Sunday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Israeli officials say she will convey a message to Syria that Israel is interested in peace talks if Syria stops supporting terrorism
Commenting on the Pelosi trip to Syria, the White House said last week that it discourages members of Congress from making such visits. A White House spokeswoman said Pelosi's trip is a bad idea and suggested Mr. Assad would use the visit by the high-ranking official as just a photo opportunity.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.