DAMASCUS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Syria on Sunday summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires to Damascus and protested against a U.S. helicopters attack on its civilians earlier in the day.
Eight Syrian civilians were killed in a U.S. helicopters attack in a Syrian farm near its border with Iraq on Sunday afternoon, according to the official SANA news agency. "Syria condemns and denounces this act of aggression and holds the U.S. forces responsible for this aggression and its repercussions," an official was quoted as saying. Syrian deputy foreign minister summoned the charge d'affaires of the U.S. embassy in Damascus, informing him of Syria's condemnation and complaint of this dangerous aggression, holding the U.S. administration fully responsible for it, said the report. Meanwhile, Syria summoned the Iraqi charge d'affaires for the same purpose, demanding Iraq to prevent the use of its territory to attack Syria.
"Syria also demands the Iraqi government to assume its responsibilities and make an immediate investigation into this dangerous violation and prevent the use of the Iraqi lands from launching aggression on Syria," SANA said. "Four U.S. military helicopters violated the Syrian airspaces at 4:45 p.m. (1345 GMT) in al-Boukamal, 8 km deep at the al-Sukariah farm," an official media source was quoted as saying. Al-Boukamal is a main border crossing from Syria to Iraq. "The four helicopters launched aggression on a civilian building under construction and opened fire against the workers inside the building, among them the wife of the building's guard," said the source. The attack killed eight citizens and wounding one and the U.S. helicopters then left for the Iraqi lands, added the source. SANA identified the eight killed citizens as Daoud Mohammad al-Abdullah and his four sons, Ahmad Khalefa, Ali Abbas and his wife. An earlier report by the independent Damaspost website put the death toll at seven with four injured.
Damaspost also said four U.S. helicopters were involved in the attack, adding that two of the helicopters landed in the town while the others remained in the sky. Eight U.S. soldiers disembarked and opened fire against a group of construction workers, killing seven and injured four, said Damaspost. Damaspost quoted hospital sources as saying that seven bodies and four wounded persons were sent to the hospital and they all suffered gunshot wounds.
Syria has been blacklisted by Washington as a sponsor of terrorism and under continuous U.S. isolation. Syria's icy relations with Washington, starting in 2003 when Damascus strongly objected the U.S. war on Iraq, became more tense following the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri in Feb. 2005, after which Washington withdrew its ambassador to Syria Margaret Scobey and never sent her back. The U.S. has been accusing Syria of not doing enough to stop anti-U.S. militants and weapons from entering Iraq and destabilizing situations there. Last month, U.S. President George W. Bush slammed Syria and Iran for allegedly continuing to sponsor terror in a speech to the UN General Assembly's annual general debate. "A few nations -- regimes like Syria and Iran -- continue to sponsor terror, yet their numbers are growing fewer and they're growing more isolated from the world," Bush said.
Syria says helicopters attack border point with Iraq
DAMASCUS: Syria said on Sunday unidentified helicopters attacked a Syrian border point with Iraq, causing casualties. The official Syrian news agency SANA did not identify the helicopters but said the attack took place in the Bou Kamal border area, in eastern Syria. Residents said the attack targeted a house in the area in which a man and his four sons and two nearby workers were killed.