Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at his office, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Some Western nations opposed to President Bashar Assad have discussed security cooperation with his government, Syria said on Wednesday, a move which if true would suggest a rise in Western concerns about foreign militants in rebel ranks.Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said several Western intelligence services had visited Damascus for discussions. His comments were broadcast a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that French and Spanish spy services had made contact with Assad's government. Any suggestion that Western countries were talking to Assad's government could complicate their relationsips with opposition groups supported by the United States and Europe, and with wealthy Gulf states that fund the rebels.Western countries are worried about the presence in rebel ranks of foreign Islamist militants who have travelled to Syria to join a near three-year-old struggle to topple Assad.Assad has always maintained that the uprising against him is run by terrorists and that Western support for the rebels damages Western countries' own interests.
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