From Arab News, “Syria Arrests 300 Saudis: Report,” .
JEDDAH “” More than 300 Saudis have been arrested at the airport in Damascus and along the Syrian border on suspicion they were en route to Iraq to fight alongside insurgents, press reports said yesterday.
Relatives of some of the arrested told Al-Watan Arabic daily that the Saudis had no intention of entering Iraq in order to take part in a jihad against American and other occupation forces. They said some of the Saudis were arrested on arrival at the airport in Damascus.
“The Saudis had gone to Syria to spend their holidays,” the paper quoted the relatives as saying. A Saudi woman, said her husband was arrested soon after his arrival at the airport in Damascus. “He called me from the airport to let me know he had arrived safely. Then we had no word for a while and later we learned he had been arrested at the airport,” she told the daily. The paper did not say when exactly the arrest had taken place.
According to the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Faisal Mekdad, his country has arrested some 1,200 people over the past few months to prevent them from entering Iraq. Many of the those trying to cross the border into Iraq, most likely to join the insurgents, were sent home “to face trial” or were being held in Syrian jails, Mekdad told Reuters. He would not say exactly where the detainees were from but that they were from “Iraq’s neighbors and other countries in the region.” Mekdad said: “We have done a great job in this respect, something which should be recognized by the United States and others. We have arrested (about) 1,200 people who had come into Syria from other countries and who were going to the front,” he explained. The Bush administration has complained frequently that Syria is not doing enough to halt the flow of men and money to the insurgency in Iraq. Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said his country”s neighbors could do more to prevent foreign fighters from entering Iraq…