TODAY’S MESOP SYRIA INSIGHT : British, German & French intelligence met with Assad’s Tortures

Western intelligence services have reportedly met with Syrian officials to discuss security cooperation with President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said he would not specify which countries had representatives that met with the Syrian government, but mentioned that many had visited Damascus to discuss the battle against radical Islamist groups. According to unnamed Western and Middle Eastern officials, European intelligence agencies secretly met with Assad’s delegates in order to gather information on at least 1,200 European jihadists that have joined militant groups in Syria. It would be the first known encounter since the countries withdrew their ambassadors after the conflict began. Mekdad said there is a divide between Western security officials, and the politicians who are pushing for the resignation of Assad. Meanwhile, Western and Gulf states pledged $1.4 billion in fresh aid for U.N. efforts in Syria at a donor summit in Kuwait. The United States pledged $380 million, but warned that humanitarian efforts will fail if Assad denies access to the people who need assistance. The pledges have come after the United Nations launched its largest appeal in history for $6.5 billion. It has only received about 70 percent of the $1.5 pledged at a 2013 conference.