(AUS BROADCASTING CO) Iraqi insurgents are being directed to a greater degree than previously suspected by loyalists of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein living in Syria, according to a Washington Post report.
A handful of senior Iraqi Baathists are collecting money from private sources in Saudi Arabia and Europe for the Iraqi insurgents and are managing some of their operations from Syria, the newspaper quoted intelligence sources as saying.
The intelligence officials said their suspicions were based on information gathered during recent fighting in the Sunni Triangle.
They say a US military summary of operations in the Fallujah said a global positioning receiver found in a bomb factory there “contained waypoints originating in western Syria”.
In separate interviews with the Washington Post, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar also raised concerns about Syria’s role in Iraq.
“There are people in Syria who are bad guys, who are fugitives of the law and who are Saddam remnants who are trying to bring the vicious dictatorship of Saddam back,” Sheikh Yawar said.
King Abdullah noted that the governments of both the United States and Iraq believe that “foreign fighters are coming across the Syrian border that have been trained in Syria”.
The Syrian ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, rejected the accusations as unfounded.
“There is a sinister campaign to create an atmosphere of hostility against Syria,” he told the Post.
The envoy said his Government “categorically” denied that Iraqi Baathists were taking refuge in Syria.
“We don’t allow this to happen,” he said. “Iraqi officials were never welcome.”
One defence official told the paper that the new intelligence also suggested US operations in Iraq, especially in the Green Zone in central Baghdad, have been heavily infiltrated by Iraqi insurgents.
The official said cell phone calls increased after major convoys left the Green Zone.