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The Syrian government provided French spies operating in Sirte, Muammar Qaddafi’s last shelter, with key intelligence information that led to the operation of hunting the Libyan strongman, a newspaper report revealed. A report by the Daily Telegraph said that officials from the Syrian government had offered the French spies Qaddafi’s satellite telephone number; thus facilitating the process of trapping and killing him. The newspaper cited a former senior intelligence official in Tripoli who confirmed that President Bashar al-Assad had sold out his fellow tyrant in an act of self-preservation, describing the incident as “an extraordinary betrayal of one Middle East strongman by another.” Rami al-Obeidi, the former head of foreign intelligence for the movement that overthrew Qaddafi, told the Daily Telegraph that Assad offered Paris the telephone number in exchange for an easing of French pressure on Damascus. “In exchange for this information, Assad had obtained a promise of a grace period from the French and less political pressure on the regime – which is what happened,” Obeidi said. Obeidi’s claims followed comments by Mahmoud Jibril, who served as prime minister in the transitional government, who confirmed over the weekend that a foreign “agent” was involved in the operation that killed Qaddafi. Although he did not identify his nationality; the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera quoted Western diplomats in Tripoli as saying that if a foreign agent was involved “he was almost certainly French.” Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy played a leading role in both the NATO mission to bomb Libya and in bringing international pressure on the Assad regime. NATO initially claimed that it did “not target individuals,” according to the Daily Telegraph, saying that a reconnaissance plane spotted a large convoy of vehicles trying to flee Sirte on Oct. 20, 2011, two months after Qaddafi fled Tripoli. NATO warplanes then bombed the convoy, apparently unaware of who was travelling in it, before militia fighters later found Qaddafi hiding in a drainpipe. He is believed to have been killed by his captors en route to the city of Misrata, west of Sirte. According to Obeidi, France had essentially masterminded the operation by directing Libyan militiamen to an ambush spot where they could intercept Qaddafi’s convoy. “French intelligence played a direct role in the death of Qaddafi, including his killing,” Obeidi said. “They gave directions that he was to be apprehended, but they didn’t care if he was bloodied or beaten up as long as he was delivered alive.” Obeidi explained that French intelligence began to monitor Qaddafi’s Iridium satellite telephone and made a vital progress when he rang some senior loyalists. As a result, they were able to specify his location and monitor his movements in what Obeidi described as “an exclusive French operation.” Qaddafi had openly threatened to reveal details of the large amounts of money he had donated to Sarkozy for his 2007 election campaign. “Sarkozy had every reason to want to get rid of the colonel as quickly as possible,” Western diplomats were quoted as saying by the Corriere della Sera.