Secretary of State John Kerry met with a number of US diplomats who would like the Obama administration to expand its military role in Syria. The encounter has raised questions about Kerry's own position on the conflict.
Some 50 US State Department officials had signed a "dissent channel" cable urging military action to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to agree to peace talks. Kerry met with ten of them - amid growing speculation that other leading US politicians might be frustrated with President Barack Obama's cautious policy in Syria.
The exact contents of the cable remain classified, but Kerry reportedly said that the memo was "very good."
State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the session lasted roughly 30 minutes.
"I believe the secretary came away feeling that it was a good discussion and that it was worth having," Kirby said, adding that "other options" were still being considered. "[Kerry] appreciated their views and - just as critically - their firm belief in the opportunity that they have to express those views."
Syria: a conflict with no end in sight
There are no signs that Obama is likely to open up a new strategy in Syria with only seven months of his presidency remaining. Many US diplomats seem to feel that more should be done to bring an end to the five-year-old civil war.
The US military is currently only involved in conducting airstrikes and training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) group in Syria.
ss/bk (AFP, AP)