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U.S. conducts air strikes near Iraq-Syria border

Monday, April 7, 2003

ABU DHABI Arab diplomatic sources reported earlier today that U.S. air strikes over the weekend took place within 15 kilometers of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States would not target Syria for military attack. But on Sunday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz warned that Syria would bear the consequences for any military aid to Iraq.

"They are doing some things they shouldn't be doing, and the sooner they stop the better it will be for them," Wolfowitz said in an appearance on U.S. television. "I think the Syrians need to know though that what they do now they'll be held accountable for."

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has refused to confirm reports that coalition forces severed the Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline, Middle East Newsline reported.

"I don't want to characterize specifically what work is being done," Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, deputy director of operations for U.S. Central Command, said on Sunday.

Last week, the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai Al Aam quoted U.S. sources as saying that special operations forces bombed the pipeline and halted the flow of oil.

"We know that we want to preserve the oil infrastructure of Iraq," Brooks said. "We have been focused on doing that throughout the conduct of our operations, and we are not going to do things within our power to put that future, that resource, at risk. I should just leave it at that."

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