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Aderholt Addresses Concerns Regarding Terrorism, Soldier Safety with Syria During Middle East Fact Finding Trip

April 4, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) has returned from a Middle Eastern fact finding trip which included visits to Israel and Syria. While visiting Israel, the congressional delegation consisting of Congressman Aderholt, Congressman Frank Wolf (VA-10) and Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16), discussed that nation’s safety and security in the volatile region. During their stopover in Syria, the group reiterated the United State’s foreign policy position that Syria must end their support of terrorism and also stop foreign fighters from using Syria’s borders to enter Iraq and kill American soldiers and innocent Iraqis.

“U.S. intelligence tells us that insurgents and foreign fighters have been crossing Syria’s border to enter Iraq and kill American troops and innocent Iraqis,” stated Congressman Aderholt. “Syria needs to know that America takes every loss of life to heart and feels very strongly that they must secure their borders from those who would attack American troops and Iraqi citizens. Terrorism of this or any other sort has no place in the world and Syria needs to get on board with that fact.”

During their visit in Syria, Congressman Aderholt and the other members of the delegation met with government officials including President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mu’allim. In addition, they also met with businessmen, religious leaders and former political prisoner and current Syrian opposition leader Riad Seif. In their meetings they discussed Syria ending support for Hezbollah and Hamas, recognition of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and ceasing Syrian interference in Lebanon.

“I, along with my colleagues, fully support the Administration’s long term strategy and decisions regarding Syria. My visit was in no way an attempt to make foreign policy or negotiate on behalf of the United States government. We made that very clear to Assad. I believe that all Americans including those in the 4th District want to see an end to Syria’s open border that places American soldiers in jeopardy as well as their support of terrorism,” said the Congressman.

He continued, “I want that just as strongly as they do. The Administration has been very clear in that regard and I believe that we were successful in solidly backing their policies.”

Congressman Aderholt concluded, “If this trip leads to one American soldier’s life being saved because of our message to Syria to close their border to terrorists, then the trip was worth it.”