The U.S. may initiate incursions into Syrian territory to stop Baathist insurgents from crossing the border and attacking U.S. troops in Iraq, a senior administration official said.
“I think the sanctions are one thing. But I think the other thing [the Syrians] have got to start worrying about is whether we would take cross-border military action in hot pursuit,” the official told the Jerusalem Post.
“In other words, nothing like full-scale military hostilities. But when you’re being attacked from safe havens across the border – we’ve been through this a lot of times before – we’re just not going to sit there,” said the official.
The official said the U.S. is likely to increase sanctions against Syria, but that it must also contemplate being more “aggressive” after this week’s bombing of a dining tent at a U.S. base in Mosul. The Post said the comment suggested the attack may have been planned by elements in Syria.
“You get a tragedy [like the attack in Mosul] and it reminds people that it is still a very serious problem. If I were Syria, I’d be worried,” the senior administration official said.
Congress in May passed the Syria Accountability Act, banning all U.S. exports to the Arab country except food and medicine and forbidding direct flights between Syria and the United States.
The sanctions were imposed in response to allegations Damascus is supporting terror groups, failing to stop anti-U.S. fighters from crossing into Iraq from Syria, developing chemical and biological weapons and occupying Lebanon.
Syria’s ambassador to the U.N. told WorldNetDaily in a recent exclusive interview his country is not aiding the insurgency in Iraq.
“There is absolutely no ground for such allegations. … On our side, we have proposed several measures to seal the borders,” said Mekdad.
U.S. incursions inside Syria would fall in line with Israeli policy of retaliation against Syrian installations in response to terror attacks coordinated from Damascus.
In October, Israeli planes attacked an Islamic Jihad training camp outside Damascus a day after a female suicide bomber blew up a restaurant in the Israeli port city of Haifa, killing 21 people.
Israel warned Syria may face further attacks for harboring top leaders of Palestinian terror groups, including Khalid Meshel, the overall leader of Hamas who operates openly from Damascus.