— WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said
on Friday shipments of military equipment have been crossing into
Iraq from neighboring Syria and said the United States would hold
Syria's government accountable for the "hostile acts."
Rumsfeld also warned Iran against backing military personnel
active inside Iraqi territory during the war, saying such forces
would be treated by U.S.-led forces as combatants.
He added that "the entrance into Iraq by military forces,
intelligence personnel or proxies not under the direct operational
control of (U.S. commander) Gen. (Tommy) Franks will be taken as a
potential threat to coalition forces."
Rumsfeld said that "we have information that shipments of
military supplies have been crossing the border from Syria into
Iraq, including night-vision goggles."
"These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of coalition
forces. We consider such trafficking as hostile acts, and will hold
the Syrian government accountable for such shipments," Rumsfeld
Asked whether the United States was threatening military action
against Syria, Rumsfeld did not answer directly, saying only that
the shipments "vastly complicates" the military operation. He also
declined to answer whether the shipments were state sponsored by
Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or