June launch scheduled for Iraq-Syria railway
The Iraqi minister for transportation has confirmed that a new railway that will link Iraq to Syria will be launched on 1st June, allowing for the transfer of freight from southern Europe to the Persian Gulf.
"The Iraqi-Syrian railroad will soon be in operation," said Iraqi minister of transportation Amer Abduljabbar, according to the Aswat al-Iraq news agency. The news agency added that Iraq has repaired the railway that connects Umm Qasr port to the Syrian border.
The move comes shortly after the confirmation of a Jordanian plan to begin work on a US$6 billion railway next year that will link the port hub of Aqaba to the Syrian border, via Amman and Zarqa, and will also link the kingdom with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has its own substantial plans for a rail network, which includes the US$136.8 million North-South Railway, the east-west Landbridge Project and the high-speed Haramain connection, which will link Jeddah with Medina and Makkah.