US general's visit to Iraq includes talks on Syria

Associated Press
In this image released by the U.S. Department of Defense and taken Monday, Aug. 20, 2012, Marine Gen. John Allen, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Commander, meets with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, unseen in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/D. Myles Cullen, Department of Defense)
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BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. Embassy says the top U.S. general's talks with Iraq's prime minister included discussions about Syria, underscoring concerns that the civil war there risks destabilizing Iraq's own fragile security.

The embassy said Wednesday that the previous day's talks between Gen. Martin Dempsey, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki touched on "regional and security issues, including the situation in Syria."

It was the first visit by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to Iraq since American troops withdrew in December.

Thousands of Syrian refugees and returning Iraqis who had been living in Syria have flooded into Iraq in recent months, straining Iraq's resources. Iraqi officials warn that al-Qaida militants are flowing into Syria, and smugglers continue to ship arms into the country across Iraq's porous borders.

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