Amnesty International Urges

Disclosure on Civilian Deaths

LONDON -- Amnesty International delivered a petition to Prime Minister Tony Blair's office yesterday, calling on the British government to make more information public about civilian deaths in the war in Iraq.

Amnesty representatives from 50 countries -- including Britain, the United States and Israel -- urged the government to abide by international law during the conflict.

The group also said that, since the start of the U.S.-led war, it had found evidence of human rights abuses in 14 countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amnesty documented cases in which police used excessive force against demonstrators. The worst was in Sudan, where three students reportedly were killed during antiwar demonstrations in Khartoum.

The United States was criticized for detaining an unknown number of asylum seekers from Iraq and more than 30 other countries for background checks as part of a national security plan dubbed Operation Liberty Shield.

Associated Press

Iraqis Seek Refuge in Syria

DAMASCUS, Syria -- About 650 Iraqi refugees sought help at a U.N. office in Damascus, U.N. officials reported.

Ajmal Khybari, an official for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said some were recent arrivals and others had been refugees in Syria for some time.

"Most of them are people who are requesting protection and they have left their country because of the war situation in Iraq," he said.

The UNHCR has been operating in Syria since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when about 8,000 Iraqi refugees fled to Syria, Khybari said.

"Some of them were able to return to their country and some of them were resettled in third countries," he said.

He said 1,100 Iraqis have approached the agency since the start of the war on March 20.

The Syrian government, in cooperation with U.N. agencies, has set up three camps to receive Iraqi refugees, but they remain empty. Iraqis who have come to Syria are either staying with family and friends or renting homes.

Associated Press

Aziz: War Going Well for Iraq

LONDON -- Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, said in an interview that the war is going very well for Iraq.

Aziz said that the war is based on bluff, deception and miscalculation by the United States and Britain and that Iraqis would continue to fight fiercely.

"The war is going very well as far as we see it and as far as realities are," Aziz said in the interview, recorded for ABC and screened by the BBC on the 11th day of the conflict.

"They are surprised that the Iraqi people are resisting them courageously with a great determination to deter them. We are not surprised, we expected that, we said that," he said.

Aziz said he had spoken to a number of American journalists and was surprised when one of them said the Iraqi people would receive U.S. troops with music and flowers.

"I told them that the Iraqi people are going to fight back. . . . The Iraqis are going to receive the Americans with bullets," he said.

Reuters

U.N. Sends Aid Shipment

SILOPI, Turkey -- The United Nations said it sent its first shipment of aid across the Turkish border into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq since the start of the war.

Two trucks carrying water purification equipment, medicine and educational material for UNICEF passed through the Habur border gate in southeastern Turkey.

U.N. officials said an additional $4 million worth of supplies would follow in the coming days.

The shipment marked the resumption of aid to northern Iraq under the U.N. oil-for-food program, although oil shipments from Iraq have not been restarted.

"There is a critical situation in northern Iraq. We are getting reports of lower food stocks and rising fuel prices, which makes it tougher to get supplies to the people who need it most," said Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for UNICEF.

Reuters

U.S. Adviser Sees Short War

OTTAWA -- Pentagon adviser Richard Perle said the Iraq war could become easier, predicting that it will be shorter than the six-week Persian Gulf War in 1991.

"The last Gulf War involved several weeks of bombing before the first ground forces touched Iraqi soil. I don't think it will be longer than that and maybe shorter," Perle said in an interview with CBC Television.

Perle resigned last week as chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board over alleged conflicts of interest.

"I think it will be a quick war, certainly by historical standards," he said.

He also said he did not think the number of U.S. casualties would be high.

"It's not going to be tens of thousands and I hope it's not even thousands. I hope it's not in the high hundreds, but I don't know, nobody knows."

Reuters