Syria may expel some Iraqis: US | india | Hindustan Times
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Syria may expel some Iraqis: US

Syria may be preparing to quietly expel some members of the Iraqi government who have sought refuge inside its borders.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2003 12:46 IST

Syria may be preparing to quietly expel some members of the Iraqi government who have sought refuge inside its borders, US officials have said.

Intelligence reports have suggested some Iraqi leaders have reached Syria. US officials have identified only a few of those, including Farouk Hijazi, Iraq's ambassador to Tunisia and a former senior intelligence operative, and possibly Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's first wife, Sajida Khairallah Telfah.

"There might be some individuals who might be made available to us," said a State Department official on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Syrians have come under intense pressure from US President George W Bush's administration since reports surfaced that some Iraqis had crossed the Syrian border fleeing the US-led war.

Expulsions were not expected on Friday.

There are signs Syria has tightened controls on its border following Washington's criticism, with some members of Saddam's government turned away at the border, said another US official, declining to name those loyalists.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday that if members of Saddam's government turn up in Syria, "We hope... the Syrians will do the correct thing, the right thing, in our judgment, and return them back to Iraq so they can stand before justice administered by the Iraqi people.