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Syria protests US war crime after deadly raid

Syria accused the United States of committing a “terrible crime” in killing eight civilians during a helicopter attack on a Syrian farm near the border with Iraq.

world Updated: Oct 28, 2008 01:19 IST

Syria accused the United States on Monday of committing a “terrible crime” in killing eight civilians during a helicopter attack on a Syrian farm near the border with Iraq.

Syria has said four US helicopters attacked the al-Sukkari farm in Albou Kamal in eastern Syria on Sunday and that US soldiers stormed a building in the area.

The United States, which accuses Syria of failing to stem the flow of al Qaeda fighters and other insurgents into Iraq to attack US forces, has neither confirmed nor denied the incident.

“This is an outrageous raid which is against international law. It is a terrible crime. I don’t know the political meaning of it. We are expecting clarifications from the Americans,” Syrian Ambassador to London Sami al-Khiyami said.

Khiyami said the Syrian authorities were still awaiting details from the Americans on the raid before deciding what measures to take and whether to lodge a complaint with the United Nations Security Council.

“We are expecting clarifications. Depending what they give as reasons we will see what to do next... They killed civilians. They had to admit their mistake and they have to compensate (the people) for it.”

US forces in western Iraq denied that they were involved in the incident. Their denial suggested that it may have been carried out by a special unit outside the regular US command structure in Iraq.

“Four helicopters came from different directions and hovered. Two of them landed and soldiers got out and started shooting,” Osama Malla Hameed, who owns a farm nearby said.

“They stayed for about four minutes and then departed,” said Hameed, whose farm is about 300 metres from where the raid occurred. His nephew, who was on a motorcycle nearby, was hit in the hand.

US accused of ‘terrorist aggression’

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem accused the United States on Monday of carrying out a “terrorist aggression” on Syria after a deadly raid which Damascus said killed eight civilians.

“The Americans do it in the daylight, this means it is not a mistake, its by blunt determination. For that we consider this criminal and terrorist aggression,” Moualem told a news conference in London.