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Iraqi Sunni tribal sheikh admits sending men to fight against Assad regime in Syria

Baghdad , Mon, 12 Mar 2012 ANI

Baghdad, Mar 12(ANI): An Iraqi Sunni sheikh has admitted to sending his men and tens of thousands of dollars worth of arms and other aid across the border to fight the Bashar al- Assad regime in Syria.


He claimed that at least his men have been killed.


The Sheikh's revelation lends credibility to speculations of "foreign fighters" heading for the Syrian revolution, The Telegraph reports.


It was earlier claimed that the Sunni "badlands" of western Iraq, an Al Qaeda haven, were repaying the help offered to them by jihadi fighters against the Americans.


The claims were backed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has refused to support the Syrian uprising, fearing his Shia-dominated government will come under threat from a Sunni takeover of its neighbour.


But the sheikh rejected the allegation of ties with Al Qaeda.


"Al-Qaeda are no way sending people to Syria to fight the regime. But it does seek out unstable areas," a local tribal and former Sahwa leader Sheikh Hamid al-Hayis said.


The sheikh also denied that militants would take over the country if Assad stepped down.


"We can hold off al-Qaeda. We have experience. We have fought against them before. We know how to do it," a tribal leader, Sheikh Ashour Juru al-Bu Mahal, whose men are fighting in Syria, said. (ANI)


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