U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
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The State Department's top diplomat on Syria is planning to retire by the end of the month, U.S. officials said Tuesday, leaving the Obama administration without one of its lead negotiators on one of its biggest security concerns.State Department officials confirmed that Ambassador Robert Ford has told friends and associates that he plans to leave by the end of February. Ford has been ambassador to Syria since January 2011, but has not lived in Damascus since February 2012, when the State Department suspended embassy operations there.
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