Syria demands apology from US following border raid
Syria demanded Wednesday that the U.S. and Iraq apologize for an American commando raid mounted from Iraqi territory that killed eight people. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad denied American claims that the helicopter raid by special forces Sunday killed a top al-Qaeda in Iraq operative who was about to conduct an attack in Iraq.
"We ask of them (Iraqis) and the Americans to investigate and provide us with the background for such a criminal, terrorist act against an independent state ... (and) make an official apology for this aggression and pledge not to repeat it," Mekdad told The Associated Press . "What is required of the American government is to confess to this aggression and not be cowardly," he added.
U.S. officials have said the target of the raid was Badran Turki al-Mazidih, known as Abu Ghadiyah, an Iraqi national linked to al-QaEda in Iraq who was involved in smuggling fighters across the border. Mekdad said all the victims were Syrian civilians and Damascus does not know the whereabouts of the wanted Iraqi, Abu Ghadiyah.
"The allegation that this person was killed is a false claim. Therefore, a search for him by world intelligence agencies, including Syria's, should continue," he said.
He said Iraq and the U.S. should compensate Syria and demanded they also pledge not to use Iraqi territory to attack Syria again. He warned that if it did happen again, it could torpedo agreements with Iraq.
The U.S. Embassy in Syria warned Americans in the country to remain alert and said it could close its doors to the public. "The American community in Syria should be aware that unforeseen events or circumstances may occur that could cause the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to close to the public for an unspecified period of time," said the message posted on the Embassy's Web site.