U.S. commandos destroy Iraqi pipeline to Syria

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

ABU DHABI U.S. special operations forces are said to have blown up an Iraqi pipeline that delivered more than 200,000 barrels of oil a day to Syria.

The Kuwaiti Al Rai Al Aam daily reported on Wednesday that U.S. forces sabotaged the Iraqi oil pipeline to Syria last week in an operation in northwestern Iraq. The newspaper quoted U.S. sources as saying the forces also blew up a railroad link between Iraq and Syria.

Until the start of the U.S.-led war against Iraq, Syria obtained 250,000 barrels of oil per day through two pipelines that stemmed from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Middle East Newsline reported. One pipeline reached the Syrian port of Banyas for export. The other provided oil directly to the Syrian national energy grid.

The U.S. sources said the destruction of the main pipeline came amid a warning by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for a halt to Syrian military supplies to the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The newspaper reported that on Monday the pumping station on the Iraqi side of the pipeline had broken down.

The Kuwaiti report was not immediately confirmed by other sources. A Western intelligence source said on Wednesday that the Iraqi-Syrian pipeline was not blown up. The source would not elaborate.

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