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Rumsfeld Warns Syria, Iran About Helping Iraq in War Effort - 2003-03-28

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused Syria of allowing shipments of military equipment to cross into Iraq, where they could endanger the lives of coalition forces.

Secretary Rumsfeld issued a strong warning to Syria to stop allowing the shipments of military equipment across the border with Iraq.

"We have information that shipments of military supplies have been crossing the border from Syria into Iraq, including night vision goggles," he said. "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."

Secretary Rumsfeld says "to the extent that military supplies or equipment or people are moving across the borders between Iraq and Syria it vastly complicates" the current situation.

When asked if the shipments were state sponsored, Mr. Rumsfeld declined to answer the question saying, "it is an intelligence issue."

Secretary Rumsfeld also warned Iran not to let armed fighters cross its borders with Iraq. He said such fighters would have to be treated as combatants.

The defense secretary said there are already hundreds of Iranian-sponsored fighters inside Iraq.