Kerry's cosy dinner with Syria's 'Hitler': Secretary of State and the man he likened to German dictator are pictured dining with their wives at Damascus restaurant before civil war broke out

An astonishing photograph of John Kerry having a cozy and intimate dinner with Bashar al-Assad has emerged at the moment the U.S Secretary of State is making the case to bomb the Syrian dictator's country and remove him from power. Kerry, who compared Assad to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein yesterday, is pictured around a small table with his wife Teresa Heinz and the Assads in 2009.

Assad and Kerry, then a Massachusetts senator, lean in towards each other and appear deep in conversation as their spouses look on. A waiter is pictured at their side with a tray of green drinks, believed to be lemon and crushed mint.

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