Soviets Reportedly Trying to Relieve Syria-Iraq Tension

United Press International

The Soviet Union is mediating between Syria and Iraq to head off a possible military confrontation between the two Arab foes in Lebanon, a Beirut nevspaper reported Friday.

The independent An Nahar, quoting a diplomatic source, said “Moscow is seeking to avert an Iraqi-Syrian war” in the strife-torn Middle East nation.

“The Soviet Union is exerting behind-the-scene efforts to heal the Iraqi-Syrian rift, and dissuade Iraq from its new stance in Lebanon, which would lead to a (military) confrontation on Lebanese territory,” the source told An Nahar.

Recent shipments of arms and ammunition by Iraq to the Christian Lebanese Forces militia in East Beirut has provoked pro-Syrian Muslim factions to reinforce their positions in the area.


Analysts have expressed fears Iraq might challenge Syria’s role in Lebanon in revenge for Syria’s backing of Iran in the Persian Gulf War.