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Terrorism & Security

Syrian ire follows apparent US raid across Iraq's border

Damascus lashed out at Washington over charges that American forces killed at least eight civilians when US helicopters were on a mission to shut down insurgent 'rat lines.'

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The New York Times reported Monday that Iraqi police in Anbar Province, which borders Syria, "did not indicate on which side of the border the blast had taken place," raising some question about the details of the incident. It also noted that Iran joined Syria in lashing out at the Americans, according to AP, calling the apparent attack a "violation of the territorial integrity" of Syria.

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AP cited an unnamed US military official as saying the raid targeted "elements of a robust foreign fighter logistics network." The official said the US had taken action because Syria has not stopped the flow of foreign fighters across the border into Iraq.

Bloomberg noted that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month said that Syria had reduced the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, but that US-Syria relations still had "a long way to go."

The Guardian reported that while Syria-US relations remain prickly, Damascus has been taking a more moderate tack in its ties with Lebanon, Israel, and the EU.

On a Los Angeles Times blog, Tony Perry wrote that the US raid occurred just a few miles from a former American military base. The US turned over the base to the Iraqis this month.

Writing in The Times, a UK daily, James Hider said the raid may have been in part a warning to Damascus.

Josh Landis, codirector of the Center for Middle East Studies University of Oklahoma, wrote on his blog Syria Comment that with the raid, the Bush administration may have been giving Syria a parting shot for its unwillingness to comply with intelligence-sharing and other US demands.

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