Iraq and Turkey are to resume regular rail links on July 20, the director general of Iraqi railways, Ghassan Abdelrazek Al-Ani, said Friday, June 22.
"Iraq will from July 20 resume regular rail links with Turkey via Syria at a rate of one (return) trip per week," Ani said, quoted in Al-Zawra newspaper.
Ani said in May that the 11-12 hour journey would link Baghdad and Mardin in southeast Turkey, passing through northeast Syria in the absence of a direct cross-border track.
The reopening of the link, dating back to the Ottoman empire but suspended since 1981, was agreed at a meeting in Ankara last January.
A first train arrived from Mardin on May 6 in a trial run carrying participants to a trade fair in Baghdad.
Iraq resumed rail links with the Syrian town of Aleppo in August 2000. Trains are the cheapest form of transportation in Iraq, which has remained under UN sanctions ever since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. ― (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)