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Monday, September 12, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Iraq: Al Qaida sent weapons, hundreds of fighters to fight Syria regime

BAGHDAD — Al Qaida has been returning from Iraq to Syria to fight the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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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.



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