American officials suspect government-controlled banks in Syria are holding up to three billion dollars in Iraqi assets looted by former leader Saddam Hussein, according to a report in Time magazine, due to be published Monday.
The magazine, quoting an unnamed senior U.S. official, said Washington has demanded Damascus return the money and is not satisfied with Syria's cooperation.
The U.S. is eager to determine that the "money is not funding violence against Americans in Iraq, or being drawn down by regime officials and supporters," the report said.
For months, Washington has quietly insisted that Damascus give up the funds, according to Time.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made the demand during a meeting in Damascus in May with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the magazine reported.
Senior Syrian officials have been given the names of at least two suspect banks and provided with account numbers, the report added.
Meanwhile, Syrian army chief of staff Hassan Turkmani on Sunday expressed sorrow over the American stance which "directs false accusations against Syria, like supporting terrorism and holding it responsible for the escalation of the Iraqi resistance against the American forces." (Albawaba.com)
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