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This is a test on words

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad says his government is receiving messages from the US-led coalition battling the jihadist group, Islamic State.Mr Assad told the BBC that there had been no direct co-operation since air strikes began in Syria in...

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad says his government is receiving messages from the US-led coalition battling the jihadist group, Islamic State.

Mr Assad told the BBC that there had been no direct co-operation since air strikes began in Syria in September.

But third parties - among them Iraq - were conveying "information".

He also denied that Syrian government forces had been dropping barrel bombs indiscriminately on rebel-held areas, killing thousands of civilians.

Mr Assad dismissed the allegation as a "childish story", in a wide-ranging interview with BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen in Damascus.

"We have bombs, missiles and bullets... There is [are] no barrel bombs, we don't have barrels."

Our correspondent says that his denial is highly controversial as the deaths of civilians in barrel bomb attacks are well-documented.

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