WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a stern warning to Syria on Friday to stop sending military equipment to Iraqi forces, saying such shipments have included night-vision goggles.
"We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian government accountable for such shipments," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon briefing.
"There's no question but that to the extent that military supplies or equipment or people are moving across the borders between Iraq and Syria, it vastly complicates our situation," Rumsfeld said.
Asked if the United States was threatening military action against Syria, Rumsfeld said: "I'm saying exactly what I'm saying. It was carefully phrased.
"We have information that shipments of military supplies have been crossing the border from Syria into Iraq, including night-vision goggles," he said.
"These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of coalition forces," the defense secretary said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has described the military action as "clear occupation and a flagrant aggression against a United Nations member state." Syria is the only Arab country currently on the U.N. Security Council.
When asked if the shipments from Syria were "state sponsored," Rumsfeld said he wouldn't answer because "it's an intelligence issue."