Thursday, October 30, 2008
In the aftermath of a United States raid in border town Abu Kamal within Syria on October 26, the country has filed a complaint with the United Nations Security Council to prevent further breaches of Syria's borders. Calling the operation a "terrorist aggression," Syria has alleged that eight civilians were killed in the raid, which was launched from neighboring Iraq.
"Syria draws attention to this aggressive act and expects the UN Security Council and member countries to assume their responsibility by preventing a repetition of this dangerous violation," read a letter to the UN Security Council. It called for the UN "to hold the aggressor responsible for the deaths of the innocent Syrian nationals."
In a press briefing on Tuesday, James K. Glassman, the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, refused to comment on the raid. The United States Department of State (DoS) has issued no official comment.
However, a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the raid was targeting Al-Qaeda in Iraq lieutenant Abu Ghadiya.
"It was a successful operation," said the official. "He [Abu Ghadiya] is believed to be dead. This undoubtedly will have a debilitating effect on this foreign fighter smuggling network."
A second US government source told Reuters that no women or children were killed. Yet, Syria has claimed that three children were killed.
The Syrian government said it has ordered the closure of an educational facility known as the Damascus Community School and the American Culture Center in response to the raid. The school serves foreign students in Syria's capital, Damascus, and is less than 200 feet from the US embassy. As of Wednesday, Agence France-Presse is reporting both facilities as still open.
"We expect the Syrian government to provide adequate security for the buildings in which the American Cultural Center and Damascus Community School are housed," said DoS spokesperson Robert Wood.
The United States has long claimed that Syria is not doing enough to secure its borders with Iraq and that foreign fighters are joining the insurgency in Iraq through routes along this border.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said, Iraq objects to its land being used for attacks on other countries but hopes Syria will become more vigilant against certain groups.
"Syria is awaiting official explanations from the US and Iraqi governments on this unacceptable violation of Syrian sovereignty before taking additional measures," said Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad.
The United States Embassy in Syria has posted a notice that it will close its doors on Thursday "due to security concerns."
== Related news ==
"Syrian government: U.S. helicopters attack farm on Syria-Iraq border" — Wikinews, October 26, 2008
== Sources ==
"Syria says it could take further steps over US helicopter raid" — Agence France-Presse, October 29, 2008
"Syria Hardens Stance With U.S. After Raid" — CBS News, October 29, 2008
Press Release: Embassy of the United States of America in Damascus. "Due to Security Concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Damascus will be closed on Thursday, October 30, 2008" — United States Department of State, October 29, 2008 PDF (14.2KB)
Thomas Omestad. "What Syria's Ambassador Says About the U.S. Military Raid" — U.S. News & World Report, October 29, 2008
Mark Tran. "Syria demands US apology for helicopter raid" — guardian.co.uk, October 29, 2008
Press Release: James K. Glassman. "Briefing on U.S. Public Diplomacy and the War of Ideas" — United States Department of State, October 28, 2008
"Syria appeals to UN over 'US raid'" — Al Jazeera, October 28, 2008
Albert Aji. "Syria orders US school, cultural center closed" — Associated Press, October 28, 2008
Marwan Makdessi. "U.S. says raid in Syria targeted smuggler" — Reuters, October 27, 2008