Iraq: Al-Qaeda members headed to Syria to launch attacks

Syrian fighters hold their weapons at a checkpoint controlled by the Free Syrian Army. The Syrian government claimed that 25 citizens were massacred by "terrorists" in Aleppo province on June 22, 2012, while pro-opposition groups claimed that rebels killed pro-Assad fighters known as shabiha in clashes.

Iraqi officials today said Al-Qaeda members are entering Syria in order to launch attacks from the strife-ridden country, reported Reuters.

"We have solid information and intelligence that members of al Qaeda terrorist networks have gone in the other direction, to Syria, to help, to liaise, to carry out terrorist attacks," India's ZeeNews quoted foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari telling reporters in Baghdad today.

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Al-Qaeda loyalists recently claimed dozens of attacks across Syria, reported the Associated Press

Zebari's claim, which could not be independently confirmed, is likely to bolster arguments by embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the anti-government revolt he is fighting there is the work of terrorists, said Reuters. Rebel forces deny this.

However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently said Al-Qaeda was behind two suicide car bombings last month in Damascus that killed over 50 people, according to Reuters

Although Assad used brutal methods to try to quell the uprising when it first began over a year ago, the two sides remain locked in a bloody conflict that the UN says has taken at least 10,000 lives.