Iraq has approved plans to run a natural gas pipeline through its territory from Iran to Syria.
The move that may prove to be a game-changer in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s two-year-long savage civil war against opposition fighters. It also extends and strengthens Iran's grip on the region.
The announcement Tuesday by the Iraqi Cabinet, said Iraq’s oil minister was instructed to grant final approval to the plan, which will cost an estimated $10 billion. An initial agreement for the project had been signed between Iran and Iraq in July 2011.
A framework agreement for the project to move forward, which will be signed by the minister, will reinforce energy and other diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The pipeline is expected to run a length of approximately 1,500 kilometers (750 miles) and will deliver natural gas to Syria from the huge South Pars gas field in southern Iran.
Iran, which holds the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves, is also expected to target other export markets with the new pipeline as well.