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Western intelligence talking to Damascus: minister

Published on Jan 16, 2014 4:37 AM

LONDON (AFP) - Western intelligence officials visited Syria to discuss security cooperation with the regime against Islamist extremists among the Syrian opposition, a senior Damascus official claimed to the BBC.

US officials denied the report, which comes amid mounting concern in Western capitals about Syria's civil war drawing in foreign radical fighters who may return to carry out attacks in the homelands.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told the BBC the alleged visits to Damascus pointed to a "schism" between what Western politicians say about President Bashar al-Assad's regime and what Western security services do in practice.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that British, German, French and Spanish agencies have been speaking to Assad regime officials since mid-2013.

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