Syria is granting free passage
across its border with Iraq to volunteers who wish to join the fight
against the U.S. and British forces. Thus far, dozens of volunteers,
primarily Palestinians from the refugee camps in Lebanon, have
crossed over into Iraq through Syrian-controlled border posts.
The passage of volunteers with Damascus's consent has given
rise to the theory that the U.S.-fired missile that struck a Syrian
bus traveling in Iraq was an intentional attack on a busload of such
volunteers. The bus left Damascus on Sunday and was hit by the
missile some 50 kilometers inside Iraqi territory. The missile
strike left five people dead and dozens injured.
the subject, the Syrian military analyst, Hitham al-Kilani, said in
an interview on Al Jazeera, on 24 March, that "the Syrian border was
opened to Syrian, Arab and Muslim volunteers wishing to reach Iraq
and participate in the fighting against the American invasion."
Al Kilani said that the Syrian border was also open to Iraqi
refugees seeking to enter Syria as a result of the fighting in their
If the attack against the bus was not an accident,
it shows that U.S. intelligence is aware of the movement of these
volunteers, via Syria, into Iraq.
While many Arab states
have voiced opposition to the American offensive in Iraq, Syria is
the sole country that has opened its border to volunteers seeking to
join the Iraqi forces. Even Iran blocked its border and is not
allowing passage into Iraq from its territory. The Turkish border is
also blocked and the Jordanians are also being very strict.
It has been reported that there are many volunteers in
Jordan who are interested in crossing into Iraq, but they know that
the border is closed.
The official explanation for closing
the border crossings of all the countries bordering Iraq is that it
the moves come to prevent a massive exodus of refugees from Iraq;
but the crossings have also been closed so as to keep those wishing
to join the fight against the coalition forces from reaching Iraq.
Hamas has recently called on all of Iraq's neighbors to open their
borders and allow volunteers through.
The precise number of
volunteers crossing from Syria into Iraq is not known, but Lebanese
sources estimate that many dozens have already done so.
Syrian mufti, Ahmed Kaftaru - a government official - recently
called on Muslims worldwide to employ all means, including suicide
operations, to defeat the American-British-Zionist aggression.
A second Syrian official, who heads the information division
of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, described the United States as "the
empire of murder and destruction."
Syria's active support
for Saddam Hussein has been particularly evident in recent months,
with Damascus even purchasing military equipment on behalf of the
Iraqi army. The equipment was reportedly delivered from its country
of origin to the Syrian port of Latakia and then carried on trucks
to Iraq. The purchases were made from a number of East European
countries, and the equipment included engines for Russian-made tanks
and aircraft. Also purchased were tank carriers, probably from
Report: Saddam selling off valuables to prepare
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has made extensive
preparations to flee Iraq, and he and several of his most senior
aides - including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz - have already
smuggled family members out to Syria, the British Daily Telegraph
reported on Friday.
The Telegraph reported that Saddam has
been selling off property and valuables to raise millions for his
exile and has an aircraft waiting on 24-hour-a-day standby to fly
him out of the country.
In addition, Saddam's first wife
Sajida fled to Damascus days before the Baghdad attack began, along
with three truckloads of possessions and 60 bodyguards, the paper
reported. She is reportedly staying with Iraq's ambassador to