Speaking today in an interview for Australia’s SBS Network, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed that several Western nations, including Australia, have been directly, albeit secretly, cooperating with his government on the war against various Islamist factions.
“They attack us politically and then they send officials to deal with us under the table, especially the security,” Assad noted, adding that they “only repeat what the United States want them to say.”
Assad’s comments aren’t a complete shock, as several reports to this effect, including one in December by Sy Hersh, have been making the rounds throughout the war, suggesting that some in the US, particularly the Pentagon, have been keen to use allies as a back-channel way to share intelligence against ISIS and al-Qaeda with Assad.
Those reports have never been publicly affirmed before, however, let alone by someone as high-profile as the Syrian president himself. This policy of double-dealing is likely not to sit well with some parts of the US government, which have argued that the focus of the war should be fighting Assad and not ISIS.
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