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U.S. names Larry Silverman as temporary point man on Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Larry Silverman will temporarily become the United States' point man on Syria with the departure of Robert Ford on Friday, a State Department spokeswoman said.

Ford, who became U.S. ambassador to Syria in 2011 and is retiring, was instrumental in persuading the Syrian opposition groups to join talks with the government aimed at ending Syria's nearly three-year-old civil war. A second round of talks in Geneva ended in mid-February with no progress toward ending the conflict.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Silverman would stand in until a permanent successor to Ford is named. "We will soon announce a permanent replacement," she added.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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