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4/1/03 - SYRIA MUST STOP AID TO SADDAM - 2003-04-02

There is evidence that military supplies are being sent across the border from Syria into Iraq. The supplies are reported to include munitions as well as night-vision goggles for Iraqi forces. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the U.S. is aware of the danger of these arms shipments:

“These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of coalition forces. We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian government accountable for such shipments.”

Since the war to remove Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and liberate Iraq began, Syrian officials have voiced support for Saddam Hussein’s regime. And Syria has reportedly allowed terrorists to cross its border to join Saddam Hussein’s forces.

Syria is a longtime supporter of terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and Palestine Islamic Jihad. Palestine Islamic Jihad recently boasted that it is sending suicide bombers to Iraq with the aim of killing American and British soldiers.

Hezbollah has been conducting terrorist attacks in the Middle East and elsewhere for more than two decades. Its victims have included Americans, Israelis, Lebanese, French, and Argentines. [BEGIN OPT] In October 1983, Hezbollah suicide bombers attacked a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Two-hundred forty-one Americans and fifty-eight French military personnel were killed. Hezbollah is also thought to have been involved in large-scale terrorist attacks on U.S. embassy facilities in Beirut in 1983 and 1984. And in 1992 and 1994, Hezbollah terrorists killed scores of people in massive bombings at the Israeli embassy and a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. [END OPT] In December, at a rally in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah [HAH-sahn nahs-RAH-lah] called on Palestinians “to take suicide bombings worldwide.”

Syria faces “a critical choice,” said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell:

“Syria can continue direct support for terrorist groups and the dying regime of Saddam Hussein, or it can embark on a different and more hopeful course.”

“Either way,” said Secretary of State Powell, “Syria bears the responsibility for its choices, and for the consequences.”