Aide: Saddam is alive, sons expelled from Syria
A close aide to Saddam Hussein has told US interrogators that the ousted Iraqi president and his two sons survived the US-led war in Iraq and are likely hiding in the country, The New York Times has reported.
The newspaper said Saturday the accuracy of the claims made by Abid Hamad Mahmud, who was arrested in Iraq last Monday, had not been assessed yet.
But the officials said the United States regarded the information as having huge potential significance, and that clandestine American military activity aimed at capturing Saddam and his sons, Uday and Qusay, had increased sharply, the report said.
If Mahmud's account is true, it would be "the most authoritative confirmation that neither Saddam nor his sons were killed in American attacks in March and April," The Times wrote.
Mahmud has told the interrogators that during the weeks after the war with the United States he spent time in hiding with the former Iraqi leader himself and then fled to Syria with Uday and Qusay, the paper reported. But the trio was forced to return back to Iraq after Syrian authorities expelled them.
According to The Times, until now, there has never been any credible suggestion that those who fled to Syria might have included Saddam's sons. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)