Damascus calls in diplomat over attack: US sources

Beirut, Oct 27 (DPA) US embassy sources in Beirut said Sunday evening that a US diplomat in Damascus was called in to the Syrian foreign ministry over the reported incident of a US military raid inside Syria.

The sources said US charge d’affaires in Damascus, Maura Connelly, was summoned to the foreign ministry which issued a protest over the raid.

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Lebanese sources meanwhile said the US commando forces had stormed a building suspected of harbouring fundamentalist militants preparing to infiltrate into Iraq.

The US and Lebanese sources were commenting on developments reported in Syria, in which US forces carried out a helicopter-borne commando raid inside Syria Sunday, killing nine people and wounding 14 in a village not far from the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Local eyewitness accounts said the attack took place about 5.45 p.m. at the village of Al-Sukkariya, some eight kilometres from the Iraqi border.

The local residents said four helicopters were involved in the operation, with two of the helicopters landing ane eight soldiers disembarking. Those killed were supposedly construction workers.

The official state-run Syrian news agency SANA in its account said that the US forces attacked a civilian building which was under construction. The victims were construction workers and the wife of one of the site’s guards.

After the attack, the helicopters flew off, heading in the direction of Iraq’s province Dayr Az Zawr, east of the Syrian border.

If confirmed, it would be the first time ever that US forces had carried out an attack on Syrian soil. There has been no official US comment so far about the reported raid.