News / 

Bush Warns Syria

Bush Warns Syria

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush warned Syria on Sunday not to harbor fleeing Iraqi leaders and asked for patience as the United States and allies restore order in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said earlier Sunday that some top members of Saddam Hussein's government had taken refuge in Syria. Some have remained in Syria, while others have moved on to different countries, Rumsfeld said.

"The Syrian government needs to cooperate with the United States and our coalition partners and not harbor any Baathists, any military officials, any people who need to be held to account for their tenure," Bush told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he returned from Camp David.

Saddam's Baath Party held power in Iraq until the U.S.-led invasion.

Bush also contended that Syria has chemical weapons, a charge made in recent CIA reports and one denied by Syria.

Asked whether Syria could face military action if it does not turn over Iraqi leaders, Bush said: "They just need to cooperate."

Bush said he might contact Syrian leaders on Sunday to make clear his warning.

Syria's deputy ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, denied that his country was harboring escaped Iraqis. He said it was the responsibility of U.S. troops to monitor Iraq's border with Syria.

The president was irritated by media reports that focused on the chaos and looting in Iraq after the fall of Saddam's government.

"You know its amazing. The statue (of Saddam) comes down on Wednesday, and the headlines start to read, 'Oh, there's disorder.' Well, no kidding!" Bush said.

"It is a situation that is chaotic because Saddam Hussein created the conditions for chaos, he created conditions of fear and hatred, and its going to take a while to stabilize the country," Bush said.

"Just like the military campaign was second-guessed, I'm sure the plan is being second-guessed, but we will be successful -- there will be more stability, there will be more medicine, there will be more food delivered over time, and it's happening as I speak."

Bush was informed at about 7 a.m. EDT by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that seven soldiers were released in Iraq. The president seemed especially upbeat as he returned Sunday afternoon to the White House, lingering with well-wishers gathered to watch his return.

"Today's a great day for the families and comrades and loved ones of the seven missing in action," Bush said. But, he added, "We still have missing in action in Iraq, we will continue to look for them. We pray that they too will be safe and free one of these days."

Bush warned Syria and the other members of his "axis of evil," Iran and North Korea, that Iraq's example shows "we're serious about stopping weapons of mass destruction."

He said he was heartened by North Korea's possible movement over the weekend toward his demand for multilateral negotiations, rather than direct talks with Washington, about the communist nation's suspected nuclear weapons program.

"That's very good news for the people in the Far East who are concerned about North Korea and their willingness to develop nuclear weapons," Bush said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast