Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Syrian Volunteers Fought US Troops in Southern Iraq ; A Witness Says 40 to 50 Syrians Entered Samawah April 3, Taking Positions in a Residential Area

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Syrian Volunteers Fought US Troops in Southern Iraq ; A Witness Says 40 to 50 Syrians Entered Samawah April 3, Taking Positions in a Residential Area

Article excerpt

Volunteer fighters from Syria were among the forces battling US troops in recent days in southern Iraq, say civilian witnesses.The accounts from the southern city of Samawah contribute to evidence that the US faces a stubborn fight from non-Iraqi Arab volunteers. Unlike Iraqi soldiers, their loyalties lie with militant anti- Western Islam, not the toppled regime of Saddam Hussein.Hundreds of Arab volunteers have reportedly entered Iraq from Syria and Jordan in recent weeks, and US troops in Baghdad were fighting non-Iraqi Arab fighters in several districts Thursday.On the night of April 3, US troops arrived in Samawah to clear Iraqi forces from this city of 124,000 people.According to separate accounts by local Iraqis Mohammad Sami Noon and Montaha Ayed, Iraqi soldiers and Syrian volunteers decided to make a stand within their neighborhood.Distinctive speechThe day of April 3, Noon watched as uniformed Iraqi soldiers brought 40 to 50 strangers to town in small cars.The passengers carried Kalashnikovs and machine guns. Their pattern of speech gave them away as Syrians. Ayed's husband also saw the Syrian volunteers as they fanned out among houses."[The Iraqi soldiers] just left them in the streets in civilian clothes to fight," says Mr. Noon.That night, some of the Syrians climbed onto Noon's roof.The Syrians opened fire on advancing American troops from Noon's rooftop. It was around 11 p.m., and Noon's family, terrified, took refuge together in a small room.In Ms. Ayed's home, she, her husband, and their four children took what shelter they could in their small house.Both Ayed and Noon said the Syrians were "shooting everywhere." Coalition bomb explosions broke up the constant sound of gunfire. Around 4:00 a.m., the bombs caught up with both families.Ayed saw a bomb crash through the roof of her home and land on her 14-year old son."It was so dusty inside we couldn't see anything," she says. "I'm injured and I saw my son dying in front of me and I couldn't do anything. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.