Syrian government and Egypt agree to 'fight terrorism'

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Syrian government says security services chief Ali Mamluk agreed coordination with Cairo during first public foreign visit in five years

A handout photo of the Syrian government's security chief, General Ali Mamluk, in Damascus in late July 2015 (AFP)
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Monday 17 October 2016 11:46 UTC
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Syrian security services chief Ali Mamluk met Egyptian officials in his first public foreign visit in five years, state media in Damascus said on Monday.

State news agency SANA said Mamluk met with Egyptian head of general intelligence Khaled Fawzy and other "high-level security officials" during his one-day visit.

The Syrian and Egyptian officials "agreed to coordinate on political positions... and strengthen coordination on fighting the terrorism faced by both countries," SANA said.

A Syrian political source in Damascus told AFP that Mamluk had "met with Egyptian officials in Cairo previously, but this is his first public visit."

Earlier this month, Cairo voted in favour of a UN Security Council resolution drafted by Bashar al-Assad government ally Russia on halting violence in Syria.

The move angered Saudi Arabia, one of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's main backers.

Mamluk was appointed as the head of national security in 2012 after a major explosion in Damascus killed four top security officials.

He is considered to be a key member of President Assad's inner circle and is blacklisted under EU sanctions.

Mamluk's last public appearance was in May 2015 in a meeting between Assad and the head of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, Alaedin Boroujerdi.

More than 300,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict broke out in March 2011.