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Rumsfeld Warns Syria Not to Provide Military Help, Assistance to Saddam Hussein's Supporters - 2003-04-09

The Pentagon says it has evidence that Syria might be helping supporters of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein flee to safety.

Mr. Rumsfeld says he isn't throwing down the gauntlet to warn Syria it could be next after Iraq. But he told reporters at the Pentagon, authorities in Damascus are not being helpful to the coalition effort. He said they are ignoring U.S. warnings not to provide Iraq with military equipment and assisting in the escapes of regime officials.

"Senior regime people are moving out of Iraq into Syria, and Syria is continuing to send things into Iraq," he said. "We find it notably unhelpful."

Mr. Rumsfeld did not identify which Iraqi leaders may have fled into Syria. But he said some are staying in Syria while others are moving to other countries.

In addition, Mr. Rumsfeld says some people have been moving from Syria into Iraq, an apparent reference to some of the Arab fighters who have entered the country to fight coalition forces.