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Syria Dismisses Iraqi Charges it Shelters Bombers

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dismissed Iraqi allegations that Syria has been sheltering people suspected of planting deadly bombs in Iraq.

Mr. Assad said that for Syria to be accused of killing Iraqis while it houses some 1.2 million Iraqi refugees is an immoral and politically motivated accusation. The Syrian leader says he is still waiting for Iraq to send documented evidence of the charges.

He spoke as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu traveled to Baghdad for talks aimed at defusing tensions between Iraq and Syria.

Davutoglu is set to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani. The Turkish foreign minister will then travel to Syria.

Relations between Iraq and Syria soured in recent weeks after Baghdad demanded that Damascus turn over suspects wanted in connection with the August 19 bombings that targeted government ministries in the Iraqi capital.

Ties were further strained after both sides called home their respective envoys last week.

On Sunday, the Iraqi government aired a second video confession of a man who said he received training at a camp in northern Syria before entering Iraq to carry out attacks.

A senior Iraqi official says a suicide truck bomber in the attacks that left at least 100 dead earlier this month had been freed recently from U.S. custody.

The official said Sunday the bomber who targeted Iraq's Foreign Ministry was a former detainee at Camp Bucca, a U.S. detention camp in southern Iraq that is due to close in September.

The U.S. military has released more than 5,000 detainees and transferred about 1,200 others to Iraqi custody, in compliance with a security pact that took effect at the beginning of this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.