Syrian forces have arrested two fugitives from Jordan who are believed to be former bodyguards of Saddam Hussein and linked to the Iraq insurgency. The manhunt followed a clash between militants and Syrian forces on Qassioun Mountain overlooking Damascus July 4. Condoleezza Rice offered rare praise for the Syrian regime upon news of the arrests. The July 4 clash was but the most recent in a series of skirmishes that come as Washington is pressuring Syria to seal its border with Iraq. (Lebanon Daily Star, July 7) In another sign of the Iraq insurgents’ isolation from Damascus, Syria strongly denounced on the killing of an Egyptian diplomat in Iraq as a “horrible criminal action,” the official SANA news agency reported. Egypt’s Ambassador-designate to Baghdad Ihab el-Sharif was kidnapped near his home in Baghdad on July 3. The group “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” announced his death July 7 in an Internet statement. (Xinhua, July 9) The US and its client regime in Iraq have previously claimed evidence that Syria is supporting the insurgents.