Syria is granting free passage across its border with Iraq to volunteers who wish to join the fight against the U.S. and British forces. Thus far, dozens of volunteers, primarily Palestinians from the refugee camps in Lebanon, have crossed over into Iraq through Syrian-controlled border posts. The passage of volunteers with Damascus’s consent has given rise to the theory that the U.S.-fired missile that struck a Syrian bus traveling in Iraq was an intentional attack on a busload of such volunteers….

[T]he Syrian military analyst, Hitham al-Kilani, said in an interview on Al Jazeera, on 24 March, that “the Syrian border was opened to Syrian, Arab and Muslim volunteers wishing to reach Iraq and participate in the fighting against the American invasion.” … The Syrian mufti, Ahmed Kaftaru–a government official–recently called on Muslims worldwide to employ all means, including suicide operations, to defeat the American-British-Zionist aggression….

Syria’s active support for Saddam Hussein has been particularly evident in recent months, with Damascus even purchasing military equipment on behalf of the Iraqi army. … The purchases were made from a number of East European countries, and the equipment included engines for Russian-made tanks and aircraft. Also purchased were tank carriers, probably from Germany.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has made extensive preparations to flee Iraq, and he and several of his most senior aides–including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz – have already smuggled family members out to Syria, the British Daily Telegraph reported on Friday… [Syria allows dozens of volunteers to cross into Iraq to fight coalition, Ha’aretz, 3/28/03]

…Donald Rumsfeld issued a warning to Syria, saying it would be held accountable for shipments of military equipment–including night-vision goggles–that have been moved across the border into Iraq. [CNN, 3/28/03]

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