Pictures resurface showing US Secretary John Kerry and President Assad dining in Syria together
Pictures have re-emerged showing the US Secretary of State John Kerry dining with President Bashar al-Assad, as Mr Kerry continued to push for a military strike on Syria following a suspected chemical attack.
The images, believed to have been captured in Damascus in February 2009, come in stark contrast to comments Mr Kerry recently made about the Syrian president, describing him as a "thug" and drawing comparisons between Mr Assad and Adolf Hitler over their use of chemical weapons.
Mr Kerry was visiting the region when he was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He met with Mr Assad at least six times, according to The Daily Telegraph.
During the visit, he said in a press conference: “President Barack Obama's administration considers Syria a key player in Washington's efforts to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.
"Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region."
The restaurant pictured is understood to be situated in Damascus' Old Town, where Mr Kerry and Mr Assad were joined by their wives Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria.
Mr Kerry was also reportedly a strong supporter of the decision made by the US government to send an ambassador to Damascus in January 2011.
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police shoot and kill second young black man
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
- 3 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermesiter and vodka
£65000 - £70000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy En...
£475 - £550 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Technical Accountant-Insuran...
£25-£30k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major well established nationwide market...