US President George Bush has warned Syria not to give refuge to followers of Saddam Hussein. Bush indicated it may be possible some of the Iraqi leader's cohorts have found "safe haven" in Iraq's western neighbour.
"We expect them to do everything they can to prevent people who should be held to account from escaping in their country," he said after meeting wounded US soldiers at two area military hospitals.
"And if they are in their country, we expect the Syrian authorities to turn them over to the proper folks." "We strongly urge them not to allow for Ba'ath party members, or Saddam's families, or generals on the run, to seek safe haven and find safe haven there," said Bush.
Syria "just needs to know we expect full cooperation," he said.
In a related development, The Washington Times reported on Saturday, citing unnamed U.S. government officials that several leading Iraqi biological weapons scientists are believed to have fled to Syria.
Among those said to have made it across the Iraqi border to Syria were Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a woman known by U.S. intelligence officers as "Mrs. Anthrax," and Rihab Taha, nicknamed "Dr. Germ."
The government officials said intelligence reports showed that either, or both, scientists had taken refuge in the Syrian capital, Damascus, the report said.
Ammash was named on Friday as one of 55 Iraqis the U.S. military has ordered to be captured or killed. Taha was not listed, but is wanted for questioning, the report said.
Ammash has been seen in photographs of Saddam's cabinet meetings as well as in meetings with his son, Qusay, who ran most of Iraq's military and security organizations.
Taha, who was trained in Britain as a microbiologist, is said to have led an Iraqi program to develop anthrax weapons, The Washington Times said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )