We clearly remember what Secretary of State George Schultz told our ambassador then, Abdallah Bouhabib, at the WH, during President Gemayel's soliciting visit:
"Assad (Hafez) has reached his zenith. From today on it's all downward for him!"
That was in 1983!
Reagan urges Syria to open talks, June 25, 1987
"... The White House letter marked the administration’s most ambitious effort to improve relations with Damascus since October 1986, when the United States withdrew its ambassador and ordered American businesses to leave. Washington ordered those actions after asserting that Syria supported international terrorism.An administration official said Reagan had raised several areas in which “we feel Syria can be constructive.” In addition to the hostage issue, they included reviving the Middle East peace process and ending sectarian turmoil in Lebanon...."