In an interview with CBS News, the ambassador said that it is well known in Baghdad that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad allowed al Qaeda to use Syria as a crossing point and springboard to attack Iraq – and now Syria is tasting a bit of its own medicine.
“Terrorists kill everyone, even women and children, and the support that a country gives to terrorist groups can sometimes backfire,” he said.
“It is well-documented fact that the majority of terrorists who came to Iraq after 2003 came through the Syrian border,” al Bayati said. “
“At that time the Syrian government said they were not aware of these terrorists coming to Syria and crossing the borders. But they are from all Arab countries: They came from Saudi Arabia, the majority of the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, but (they also) came from Yemen, Sudan, Algiers, Tunisia.”
In Syria, al Bayati said, army defections “will be a destabilizing force.”
The establishment of a base of operations in Syria for al Qaeda –while a war is being fought between the Assad government and the opposition — is significant and tragic because in Iraq, it undermines the progress that the government has made after U.S. troops departed, al Bayati asserted.
In Syria, it makes the possibility of a peaceful transition more difficult, if at all possible.
Al Bayati said: “Al Qaeda is playing a role, even in Iraq. They became very active recently during the holy month of Ramadan. We had the bloodiest day of attacks in which more than 100 people were killed, a couple of days ago, and that’s a sign that this kind of fundamentalism, or extremism or al Qaeda, could spill over from Syria to many countries; could be Lebanon, could be Jordan, and even Iraq.”
The ambassador said al Qaeda is like a cancer that grows and Syria is suffering now from the surge in al Qaeda presence there.