Officials said the Al Qaida network has sent hundreds of
fighters from Iraq to Syria in 2011. They said the Islamic insurgency
network has sent fighters as well as weapons from northern Iraq — often
through Jordan — and to northeastern Syria.
"In the past two months we have arrested dozens of Al Qaida members as
they attempted to cross into Syria," a senior Iraqi official said.
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The official, responsible for Iraqi border security, said Al Qaida has
decided to participate in attacks on the Assad regime in Syria. The official
told Iraq's Al Afaq television that the insurgency network was based in both
the northern province of Nineveh and western province of Anbar.
Iraq is said to have confiscated a large number of weapons. No Al Qaida
insurgents were reported arrested.
"Three buses and a truck containing many weapons [were seized]," the
official said. "[Nineveh and Anbar] have become land bridges for the
transportation of weapons and ammunition from the huge arsenal built up over
its years of existence in Iraq."
Officials said Al Qaida was believed to have been financed from Saudi
Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states. They said Iraq also served
as a venue of weapons through Jordan and Turkey to Syria.