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Powell Says Syria Is Taking Action on Terror Groups

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, opening a new phase of direct American diplomacy in the Middle East, met today with President Bashar al-Assad and said afterward that Syria had begun closing the offices of at least some militant groups in Damascus as urged by the United States.

Although Mr. Powell gave no details and Syria provided no immediate confirmation, a senior State Department official said that Syria had shut down the offices of three organizations that the United states considers terrorist. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified them as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Syria has long maintained that the groups only kept information offices in Damascus. The State Department official also said that Syria was taking steps to ensure that members of the groups would limit their television appearances from Damascus. Full Story

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