WASHINGTON — The Syrian government was warned by the United States on Friday to stop providing Iraq with supplies and weapons to use against coalition forces.
Fox News reported Thursday that Defense officials said they are seeing “military equipment” coming across the border from Syria to Iraq.
When pressed about what kind of equipment and how much, the officials said, “night vision goggles and other things,” but would not elaborate on how much or how it is affecting the campaign.
But on Friday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirmed that Syria was in fact engaging in such activities and sent out a stern warning.
“These developments pose a direct threat to coalition forces,” Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon briefing. “We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian government responsible for the incidents.”
Syria has effectively opened its borders for volunteers trying to get into Iraq to fight for Saddam Hussein’s regime, as well as refugees trying to escape, U.S. government officials confirmed to Fox News Friday.
Intelligence reports began trickling in Tuesday night about the border activity.
By contrast, officials say the Turkish, Iranian, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian borders were closed and more carefully watched. Officials say the U.S. government’s concerns have been communicated to the Syrian government, though exactly how is unclear.
The United States says Russia, too, has provided Iraq with night-vision goggles, as well as electronic jamming equipment that could alter the path of U.S. bombs and aircraft.
Leaders of the terrorist group, Hamas, in the West Bank have distributed pamphlets and made public demands for Iraq’s neighbors # Jordan and Saudi Arabia # to open their borders so volunteers can head for Baghdad. Sources say Hezbollah fighters from another terrorist organization are also en route from Lebanon to Iraq.
Saddam’s regime has long rewarded and supported Palestinian homicide bombers with money for the families of victims.
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