29/04/2003

Two British soldiers return after Syrian detention

Two British soldiers who were being held by the Syrian government have been released today, following a visit by a Foreign Office official to Damascus.

The soldiers, serving with elite special forces, had been held in Syria since they crossed its borders from northern Iraq. It is thought that the pair had been part of a group that had been ambushed by Iraqi forces and who were then forced to escape across the border. They trekked for over 100-miles with Iraqi soldiers in hot pursuit.

It has also been reported today that US troops have killed around 15 people who were part of a group protesting against the US presence in Iraq. The killings occurred in the town of Falluja near Baghdad.

US troops in the area claimed that they were fired on by the crowd, but Iraqi civil leaders have rejected this.

Elsewhere, the US Defense Secretary has said that it is set to reduce its forces in the Gulf region.

Donald Rumsfeld said that it is not yet clear how forces will be deployed in the future, but it is certain that there will be withdrawals.

(GMcG)

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