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Syria, West explore cooperation to fight Islamic State

Western intelligence officials have reportedly reached out to the Syrian government on potential cooperation over the Islamic State threat, but so far little progress has been made.
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem listens to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (R) as they wait for lunch during a break in the Geneva-2 peace talks in Montreux January 22, 2014. Syria's government and opposition, meeting for the first time, angrily spelled out their mutual hostility on Wednesday at a U.N. peace conference where world powers also offered sharply divergent views on forcing out Bashar al-Assad. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (SWITZERLAND - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTX17PZ
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The Syrian government is seeking to present itself as the West’s only option to confront the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. After the terror group’s gains in Iraq and eastern Syria — edging out both its jihadist rival Jabhat al-Nusra from Deir ez-Zor and the last regime bastion in Raqqa — IS is making its move in Aleppo’s countryside, pushing closer to the country’s second largest city as it strikes rebel-held territory.

But despite the shocking loss of the Tabaqa military air base in Raqqa and IS' execution of dozens of captured Syrian soldiers, the Syrian regime is still prioritizing its fight with Jabhat al-Nusra and rebel factions.

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