Rumsfeld warns Syria, demands to stop sending military equipment to Iraq
US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a stern warning to Syria on Friday to stop sending military equipment to Iraqi forces, saying such shipments have included night-vision goggles.
"We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian government accountable for such shipments," Rumsfeld said.
Rumsfeld said that Iraqi forces were being helped by shipments from Syria. "We have information that shipments of military supplies have been crossing the border from Syria into Iraq, including night-vision goggles," he said.
"There's no question but that to the extent that military supplies or equipment or people are moving across the borders between Iraq and Syria, it vastly complicates our situation," Rumsfeld said.
Asked if the United States was threatening military action against Syria, Rumsfeld said: "I'm saying exactly what I'm saying. It was carefully phrased." "These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of coalition forces," the defense secretary added.
Rumsfeld added that Iraqi militants opposed to Saddam Hussein's regime were streaming into Iraq from Iran, where they had been in exile. He said their presence was complicating U.S. war plans.
According to him, "hundreds" of Iran-backed militants opposed to Saddam's regime, known as the Badr Brigades, were entering Iraq and complicating U.S. war plans.
"They are Iraqis....They have been housed in Iran, armed by Iran, sponsored by Iran," Rumsfeld said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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