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As US Secretary John Kerry tells Congress not to be 'spectators to slaughter', pictures show him dining with President Assad in Syria

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The restaurant pictured is understood to be situated in Damascus' Old Town, where Mr Kerry and Mr Assad were joined by their wives Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria. 

The restaurant pictured is understood to be situated in Damascus' Old Town, where Mr Kerry and Mr Assad were joined by their wives Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria. 

The restaurant pictured is understood to be situated in Damascus' Old Town, where Mr Kerry and Mr Assad were joined by their wives Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria. 

The restaurant pictured is understood to be situated in Damascus' Old Town, where Mr Kerry and Mr Assad were joined by their wives Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria. 

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 03:  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of "The Authorization of Use of Force in Syria" September 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama is attempting to enlist the support of members of the U.S. Congress for military action against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own people last month.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 03: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of "The Authorization of Use of Force in Syria" September 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama is attempting to enlist the support of members of the U.S. Congress for military action against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own people last month. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 03:  U.S. Senators view photographs of victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of  "The Authorization of Use of Force in Syria" September 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama is attempting to enlist the support of members of the U.S. Congress for military action against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own people last month.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 03: U.S. Senators view photographs of victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of "The Authorization of Use of Force in Syria" September 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama is attempting to enlist the support of members of the U.S. Congress for military action against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own people last month. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Getty Images

The restaurant pictured is understood to be situated in Damascus' Old Town, where Mr Kerry and Mr Assad were joined by their wives Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria. 

Pictures have emerged showing the US Secretary of State John Kerry dining with President Bashar al-Assad, as Mr Kerry continued to push for a military strike on Syria following a suspected chemical attack.

The images, believed to have been captured in Damascus in February 2009, come in stark contrast to comments Mr Kerry recently made about the Syrian president, describing him as a "thug" and drawing comparisons between Mr Assad and Adolf Hitler over their use of chemical weapons.

On Tuesday evening he called on Congress to support a military strike, saying: "This is not the time for armchair isolationism. This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter."

The pictures were taken when Mr Kerry was visiting the region as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He met with Mr Assad at least six times, according to The Daily Telegraph.

During the visit, he said in a press conference: “President Barack Obama's administration considers Syria a key player in Washington's efforts to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.

”Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region".

The restaurant pictured is understood to be situated in Damascus' Old Town, where Mr Kerry and Mr Assad were joined by their wives Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria. 

Mr Kerry was also reportedly a strong supporter of the decision made by the US government to send an ambassador to Damascus in January 2011.

Belfast Telegraph