Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Mekdad said that officials from Western intelligence agencies have visited Damascus to discuss combating extremist Islamist groups.
Mekdad told BBC on Wednesday that there are disputes between Western security officials on the one side and political leaders, who exaggerate political demands, on the other.
He said that many western governments “have finally come to realize that there’s no alternative to the leadership of President Bashar Assad.”
Asked which representatives of Western intelligence agencies, including British intelligence, have visited Damascus, Mekdad refrained to detail, but said that “many of them already visited Damascus.”
Regarding reports that several Western countries had asked the Syrian government to return their diplomats to Damascus, Mekdad said that several countries have submitted requests to that effect, while others are waiting for the results of Geneva II. He said western governments want to establish security cooperation because terrorists sent from Western Europe to Turkey then to Syria have become a threat to them.
The British Foreign Ministry told the BBC that it doesn’t comment on intelligence issues, but the BBC's chief international Correspondent Lyse Doucet said that informed sources confirmed that meetings took place between Syrian and Western intelligence officials and that the growing number of Islamist militants going to Syria from European countries represent a mutual concern for Syria and the West.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer