View Full Version : Going to Syria!

04-17-03, 03:13 AM

U.S. 'to hunt Saddam in Syria'
From Sam Greenhill at Central Command, Doha
17th April 2003

merican Soldiers could go into Syria in hot pursuit of Saddam Hussein.

Forces will be given the 'nod' to cross the border from Iraq, risking an international incident, if they discover the whereabouts of the fugitive dictator.

A senior official at Central Command admitted the rulebook could be set to one side if Saddam tried to flee to Syria.

Such an intervention could trigger a huge row in the light of fears in Damascus that the Americans want to invade Syria following the allied victory in Iraq.

The U.S. suspects Syria, which it has branded a 'rogue state', is harbouring ousted Iraqi leaders, as well as sponsoring terrorism.

The elusive Saddam has a huge bounty on his head worth millions of dollars.

He and 54 of his cronies feature on a deck of playing cards issued to U.S. troops involved in the manhunt. The deposed dictator is the ace of spades.

The Central Command source said: 'We respect international borders. But if it was the ace of spades, that would be different.'

The SAS, which is operating in the border area, has been given no such permission.

A British military spokesman said: 'We respect international law. You should not cross international borders in an illegal manner.'

Six Middle East powers called yesterday for an end to threats to Syria.

Representatives from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE met in Riyadh to condemn recent U.S. statements.

The foreign minister in Qatar - which is hosting the U.S. war command centre - said: 'We reject the threats against Syria and we believe they should stop.'

Tension has been escalating since President Bush claimed Syria has chemical weapons and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there was evidence it had tested them within the past 15 months.

Yesterday the U.S. shut off an oil pipeline between Iraq and Syria.

Washington believes Syria has given safe haven to a former Iraqi spy chief.

Farouk Hijazi allegedly launched a failed assassination attempt against President Bush's father during a visit to Kuwait.

In Damascus, few Syrians understand the U.S. hostility. Many believe their country has co-operated in the war against terrorism, and gave Arab cover to UN resolution 1441 demanding Saddam disarm.

Syria's ambassador to the U.S., Rostom al-Zoubi, said: 'We were not supporting the Iraqi regime and did not allow any of its leaders into our country.'

The nation's foreign minister, Farouq al-Shara, said his government was willing to sign a treaty making the entire Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.