Thursday, September 30, 2004

Syria to tighten border

Syria to clamp down on the Iraq/Syria border:

Syria has agreed to do more to tighten security along the border with Iraq to keep militants from entering the country, a U.S. Embassy official said Thursday.

The decision followed three days of talks between Syrian, U.S. and Iraqi officials on border security. Washington claims foreign fighters have been freely crossing toe 370-mile border to take part in the ongoing insurgency there.

U.S.-Syrian relations have soured in recent months over Washington's claims that Damascus has been doing too little to secure the border to block militants from crossing into Iraq.

Syrian officials have not yet commented on the latest talks in Damascus, which ended Wednesday, but the government has previously said that despite posting hundreds of extra troops along its frontier with Iraq, it is impossible to completely seal off the porous border.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks were "constructive and positive," adding that Syrian officials agreed to take "specific actions in coordination with Iraqi and multinational forces."

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