Oct. 16, 2004 – American Marines patrolling a 250 kilometer stretch of the Iraq-Syria border have come under increasing mortar attacks from inside Syrian territory near the border town of Husaybah, the Associated Press is reporting. According to Lieutenant Colonel Chris Woodbridge, it remains unclear who is firing the 82mm shells.
The Bush Administration has pressured Syria to tighten border security in the Husaybah area, which lies on the Euphrates River. The ravines and brush in that area of the otherwise desert frontier of the Al-Anbar province have reportedly made it a popular crossing point for militants en route to the Iraqi heartland.
In May, the so-called Syria Accountability Act was invoked to impose economic sanctions on Syria in response to the Bush administration's accusations of what it calls Syria's support for terror and failure to stop militants from entering Iraq.
For its part, Syria reports it has placed hundreds of troops along the border, but says the area is too large to control. Indeed, the US has been erstwhile unable to seal off the Iraqi side since the occupation began.