March will see the commencement of weekly railway services between the Syrian capital of Damascus and the Iranian capital of Tehran, reported Tishrin, the official Syrian daily.
According to the newspaper, the route will run from Damascus to Aleppo in northern Syria, and then, via Mosul in northern Iraq, to Tehran. The journey would take about two and a half days to complete.
The work on the Aleppo-Mosul link was resumed last August, and hailed as a sign of growing rapprochement between the governments of Iraq and Syria, which are both dominated by the Baath party. Relations between the two Arab states were severed during the Gulf War of 1991, as Syria participated in the international coalition that faced off against Iraq.
Iran and Syria originally agreed to link their national railroad networks via Iraq on July 19, 2000. According to the signed agreement, the joint Syria-Iraq section of the railway was to stretch along 150 km, with the Iran-Iraq section being 30-kilometer long. The design and construction of the Syria-Iraq railway was contracted to an Iranian company, Qazal.
Earlier in July 2000, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported that Syria and Iran had decided to build a railroad via Turkey. That plan evidently was shelved when it was agreed to use an Iraqi route.
The planners of the Iran-Iraq-Syria railroad hope that it will evolve into one of the major surface transportation routes in the Middle East, linking the Mediterranean region, the Arab Gulf and Central Asia. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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