West cooperating secretly with Damascus, claims Assad

Bashar al Assad

AMMAN: Syrian President Bashar al Assad said in an interview to be broadcast on Friday that Western countries had sent security officials to help his government covertly in fighting Islamist militants involved in Syria’s war.

Assad, in remarks to Australia’s SBS News channel that were carried by Syrian state media, said Western states — who are strongly opposed to his rule but also face the threat of Islamist attacks at home — were secretly cooperating with his government in counter-terrorism operations.

“They attack us politically and then they send officials to deal with us under the table, especially the security, including your [the Australian] government,” Assad was quoted as saying.

“They don’t want to upset the United States. Actually most of the Western officials, they only repeat what the United States want them to say. This is the reality,” he said. There was no immediate comment from Western governments.