Syria closes oil pipelines; cuts Iraqi exports in half

Syria shut down vital pipelines carrying Iraqi crude oil to the Mediterranean , cutting Iraq's oil exports in half. The action came two days after Syria, which has supported Iran in its war with Iraq, announced it was closing its border with Iraq, blocking off important routes for non-military supplies to Baghdad.

Syrian officials who announced closure of the pipelines gave no reason for the move, but explained the border closure as a measure to stop sabotage from Iraqi territory. Iraq denied the charge.

Industry sources said before the closure that Iraqi oil exports were running at about one million barrels per day, down from more than three million before the war.

Closure of the pipelines across Syria leaves Iraq with only one way to export its oil, through a pipeline to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Iraq's main export terminals on the Gulf have long been closed by the war.

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