What is Dennis Kucinich doing in Syria?

Rep. Kucinich’s office has issued a press release confirming that the congressman is “on a fact-finding mission to Syria and Lebanon” accompanied by a delegation that includes his wife, Elizabeth. The office explains that Kucinich was asked by his constituents, who include many Arab-Americans, to “investigate conditions on the ground in Syria” and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict there, and that he’ll meet with democracy activists, NGOs, small business owners, and civilians in addition to the Syrian and Lebanese presidents. “Peace is a conscious, active pursuit that requires work and communication,” Kucinich is quoted as saying.

Earlier this morning, CNN’s Hala Gorani, one of the few Western journalists who has been permitted entry to Damascus, issued a strange tweet: “Ran into Dennis Kucinich in another hotel. Told me he’s on fact-finding mission. Met w Assad for 3 hrs yest. Wouldn’t elaborate.” What is the anti-war, anti-Libya campaign Ohio Democrat doing meeting with the head of a regime accused of killing over 1,300 people in its crackdown on anti-government protests?