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Syria Denies Giving Asylum to Iraqi Leaders - 2003-04-13


A senior Syrian leader is denying allegations that his country is allowing high-level Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's toppled government to enter Syria.

U.S. leaders have said they believe many leading figures in the former Iraqi leadership have fled to Syria.

On NBC television's Meet the Press Sunday, Syria's deputy ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, flatly denied charges that his government is knowingly allowing them to be there.

"The answer is no," he said.

Ambassador Moustapha acknowledged that Arabs do not need a visa to enter Syria. But he said the accusations against Damascus are part of what he called a campaign of misinformation against his country.

Syria says only humanitarian aid is crossing its border with Iraq.

Meanwhile, U.S. Commander Tommy Franks told Fox News Sunday he is confident coalition troops have prevented any of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction from moving into Syria.