Apr 20, 4:15 PM EDT

Syria's Assad cites 'contacts' with French intelligence

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PARIS (AP) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad says the French and Syrian intelligence services have had "some contacts" over the fight against the Islamic State group but denied that there is any cooperation between them.

Assad made the remarks in a taped interview with French television station France 2 broadcast Monday.

In the interview, Assad said Syrian officials "met with some of your security officials, but there's no cooperation" and no exchange of information.

Assad said there could be no cooperation as long as France maintains a policy of aiding forces seeking his ouster - rebel groups that Assad called terrorists.

France says about 3,000 citizens have links to extremist fighters in Syria and Iraq, with important contingents in both the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

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