updated 10/3/2008 6:56:54 PM ET 2008-10-03T22:56:54

A federal judge ordered Syria to pay more than $400 million to the families of two American men kidnapped and decapitated while working as civilian contractors in Iraq.

The families of Jack Hensley of Georgia and Eugene "Jack" Armstrong of Michigan filed a 2006 lawsuit against Syria, which they claimed supported the group that killed the two men in 2004.

The two were private subcontractors working in Baghdad for an American consortium supporting U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq.

A federal judge in Washington handed down the award Sept. 26. Syria never answered the claims or appeared to contest them.

A message at the Syrian Embassy in Washington said it was closed Friday to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

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