DAMASCUS, Syria — The sister of Terry A. Anderson, an American journalist kidnaped 16 months ago, met with a Syrian Foreign Ministry official Monday to discuss efforts to free him and four and other Americans missing in Lebanon.
Issam Hayyani, head of the ministry's U.S. department, was the first Syrian official to receive Peggy Say since she arrived Sunday seeking help in freeing Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, and the others.
Say, 45, of Batavia, N.Y., told reporters after the meeting that she was carrying letters from the hostages' families thanking Syrian President Hafez Assad for his support. She said she would like to meet with Assad but would not be disappointed if that proved impossible.
The five captives, missing for between one and two years, are believed held by Shia Muslim extremists loyal to Iran.
Syria, which maintains about 25,000 troops in eastern and northern Lebanon, is the dominant foreign power there.