US: No direct, indirect communication with Assad

Obama administration rejects claims by Syria's Assad that his government receives messages from U.S.-led coalition through third parties

Obama administration rejects claims by Syria's Assad that his government receives messages from U.S.-led coalition through third parties

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Tuesday rejected claims by Syria that it has received intelligence from the U.S. through a third party. 

During a foreign television interview that aired Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his government is receiving messages from the US-led coalition fighting ISIL. 

The White House and State and Defense departments all rejected the assertions. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. has never coordinated actions with the Assad regime and would not. 

But he noted that prior to initiating strikes in Syria, the U.S. informed the regime of its plans, through its ambassador to the United Nations. 

"What was made clear in that communication is that it's the responsibility of the Syrian government, to put it bluntly, to stay out of the way," Earnest said. 

A Pentagon spokesman also declined Assad’s claims. 

"We don't have any direct or indirect communication with the Assad regime in military terms," Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters. 

Assad said third parties, among them Iraq, were conveying "information" rather than a coordination with the U.S.-led coalition. 

Kirby said questions about possible Iraqi intermediaries should be referred to Iraqi officials.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also touched on the issue and said the U.S. would not work with the Assad regime as it has created an environment that ISIL has exploited.

She said she would not go through details of private diplomatic discussions with Iraq.

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