Germany’s spy agency is working again with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s secret service to swap information on Islamist militants, the Bild daily said, despite Berlin’s opposition to Assad staying in power under any peace deal for Syria.
Citing well-informed sources, the mass-circulation newspaper said German foreign intelligence BND agents had been travelling regularly to Damascus for some time for consultations with Syrian colleagues.
Two weeks ago Germany’s parliament approved a plan to support a U.S.-led air strike campaign against Islamic State insurgents in Syria by sending Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate to help protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, refuelling aircraft and up to 1,200 military personnel.
German media have dubbed the mission Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “first war” and have highlighted the risks of German pilots crashing in Islamic State-held territory.
The aim of renewed BND contacts with Damascus is to exchange information about militants, especially those in Islamic State, and to set up a fixed communication channel in case a German Tornado pilot is downed over Syria, Bild said.
Bild said the BND wants to open a station in Damascus as soon as possible to have agents permanently stationed there and is making preparations with the government’s knowledge.
Full article: German spies cooperating again with Assad’s secret service – Bild (Reuters)