Despite Rumsfeld claims: US army unaware of Syrian supply of night-vision goggles to Iraq
Three days after US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld charged night-vision goggles had been supplied by Syria to Iraq, a top US commander said Monday he was unaware of any Iraqi battlefield use of such devices.
"What I know is that we have not to my knowledge seen any at this point," Brigadier General Vincent Brooks told a briefing at the Central Command's forward headquarters in Qatar in reply to a question. "I'm just not aware of any that have been encountered."
On Friday, Rumsfeld said the United States had information that night-vision goggles and unspecified other military supplies and equipment had been crossing from Syria into Iraq, to bolster the Iraqi army.
Syria dismissed the accusation as an attempt by Washington to cover up for "ugly war crimes" against Iraqi civilians.
Brigadier General Brooks said at the Qatar briefing any further questions on what triggered the warnings to Syria should be for "capitals and not for this command".
Meanwhile, Syria said Monday it had "chosen" to support the Iraqi people against the US-British invasion of Iraq. The Syrian Foreign Ministry also accused Washington of catering to Israeli interests in the Middle East.
The Syrian comments came a day after US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Syria to cease its support for terrorism, suggesting it would otherwise face grave consequences.
"It is clear from (Powell's) speech that he was submitting a report on his latest achievements which confirm that what the US administration is doing in our region serves Israel and its interests and pleases (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon," a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.
"By doing that, the employees of this (US) administration get a report for good behavior from Israel," the spokesman added his statement.
The statement said Syria has already made its choice: "Syria has chosen to be with international legality represented by the United Nations Security Council.
"Syria has also chosen to stand by the Iraqi people who are facing an illegitimate and unjustified invasion," the statement said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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