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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.

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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.


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