5,088. 5/19/2003

“At [the entrenchment location of U.S. forces in Baghdad dubbed] Curley, however, most of the fighting had been against foreign Arabs and jihadists. Interrogation reports indicated that the Arab fighters were organized into platoons of thirty to forty and that there were an estimated 200 to 300 at Curley. Many had been brought over from Syria in buses and trucks and had only been in Iraq a few days. Some had military training but none were professional soldiers. Of the thirty enemy prisoners of war captured at Curley, twenty-eight held Syrian passports and neither of the two Iraqis taken prisoner was a soldier. ‘Most of what we found was Syrian, Syrian mercenaries, that had been recently conscripted to come over here and fight us,’ recalled Felix Almaguer, the intelligence officer [in an interview on May 19, 2003]. ‘This was based on the interrogations we had during the actual battle. The leaders were generally individuals who had some experience in some kind of Hezbollah or Hamas militia.’ ”

 – Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II, Page 467

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