Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is planning to escape to Syria and has already smuggled his family out, according to London’s Daily Telegraph. Just days before the bombing of Baghdad began, Saddam’s first wife Sajida, the mother of Uday and Qusay, fled to Damascus with three trucks full of possessions and 60 bodyguards. Protocol minister Haitham Rashid Wihaib says Saddam’s family is staying with Iraq’s ambassador to Syria.

“He knows it is only a matter of time before he is defeated, and he has made sure that everything is in place for a very comfortable exile,” Wihaib says. Several other government officials, including his deputy Tariq Aziz, also have sent their families to Syria.

The families were able to sneak out of Baghdad because they were staying close to the border. They originally planned to flee to Amman, Jordan, where many of them have homes and bank accounts, but Saddam doesn’t trust the Jordanians, because they’ve let U.S. troops into their country. If his escape route is cut off, Wihaib says Saddam has ordered his bodyguards to kill him. Wihaib says, “Saddam will never be captured alive.”

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