Syria Says It Supports ‘Iraqi People’ Against Invaders
March 31, 2003
Assad predicted "popular resistance" would prevent invaders from
DAMASCUS, March 31 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - Following a new
warning against Damascus from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Syria
said Monday, March 31, it had chosen to support the Iraqi people against
the "illegal" U.S.-British invasion of Iraq.
"Syria has chosen to align itself with the brotherly Iraqi people who are
facing an illegal and unjustified invasion and against whom are being
committed all sorts of crimes against humanity," a foreign ministry
spokesman said, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
In the latest shot in the growing war of words between the two countries
over Iraq, Powell said Sunday that "Syria now faces a critical choice.
Syria can continue direct support for terrorist groups and the dying
regime of Saddam Hussein, or it can embark on a different and more
"Either way, Syria bears the responsibility for its choices, and for the
Powell, who also warned Iran, said that as part of its "overall strategy
in combating terrorism," Washington was "demanding more responsible
behavior" from "states that do not follow acceptable patterns of
Washington considers Syria and Iran state sponsors of terrorism, and
though Syria is not included with Iran, Iraq and North Korea on President
George W. Bush's "axis of evil", it fears it is already being lined up
for U.S. “attention” after Iraq.
The Syrian spokesman said Powell, "like the whole world knows, Syria has
chosen to be with international legitimacy represented by the United
Nations and the Security Council whose role its to preserve world peace
Syria, one of the rotating non-permanent members of the Security Council,
"has chosen to be with the international consensus which has said no to
aggression against Iraq, the bombardments of cities, the massacre of
innocent civilians, the destruction of houses, power plants and water
stations," the statement went on.
Noting that Powell was speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC), it said he was clearly "affirming that all the actions
of the U.S. administration in the region serve Israeli interests and
plans and satisfy Ariel Sharon," the Israeli Prime Minister.
"The officials of this administration are thereby obtaining good conduct
certificates from Israel and its supporters in the United States," it
Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara told parliament at the weekend
that "Syria's interest is to see the invaders defeated in Iraq,"
according to Monday's official press.
"The resistance of the Iraqis is extremely important," he said. "It is a
heroic resistance to the U.S.-British occupation of their country."
Shara said Washington justified its attack on Iraq as a war of
"liberation and preservation of democracy and human rights, while it is
killing and destroying."
U.S. and British troops "have been shocked by the welcome from the
Iraqis, who have not received them with flowers but protests against
their deceitful slogans and a fierce resistance," he added.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday that "we have
information of shipments of military supplies crossing the border from
Syria into Iraq."
The deliveries, which he said included night vision goggles, "pose a
direct threat to the lives of coalition forces," Rumsfeld charged. "We
consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian
He declined to say whether the Syrian government was behind the
shipments, but stressed: "They control their border. We're hopeful that
kind of thing does not happen again.
"There is no question but that to the extent military supplies, equipment
or people move across borders between Iraq and Syria that it vastly
complicates our situation."
Earlier Friday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Assad said in an
interview with a Lebanese newspaper that he hoped U.S. forces would fail
to oust Saddam and predicted that if they were to conquer Iraq, "popular
resistance" would prevent them from controlling it.
The same day, Syrian mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kaftaro called for suicide
attacks against U.S. forces, while a foreign ministry spokesman said
Rumsfeld was trying to justify the slow progress of his troops in their
drive on Baghdad.
On Sunday, Al-Jazeera television reported that an unknown number of
Syrians had arrived in Iraq's northern city of Mosul to fight for Iraq.
Israel Again On The Line
Israel, a long-time foe of Syria, whose Golan Heights it has occupied
since 1967, weighed in Monday, with a senior intelligence officer telling
a parliamentary committee that Iraq might have moved missiles and weapons
of mass destruction into Syria.
General Yossi Kupperwasser said this could explain why U.S.-led forces
scouring suspect sites in western Iraq had found nothing so far, Israeli
However, a senior U.S. commander, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, said
Monday that to his knowledge, U.S. forces had so far encountered no
Iraqis on the battlefield carrying night vision goggles.