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Iraq to Inspect Iran’s Syria-Bound Planes, Minister Tells Paper

Iraq plans to randomly inspect Iranian airplanes flying to Syria, the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told the al-Hayat newspaper in an interview.  Photographer: Ali Al-Saadi/AFP/GettyImages
Iraq plans to randomly inspect Iranian airplanes flying to Syria, the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told the al-Hayat newspaper in an interview. Photographer: Ali Al-Saadi/AFP/GettyImages

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq plans to randomly inspect Iranian airplanes flying to Syria, the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told the al-Hayat newspaper in an interview.

“The government plans to bring planes down and conduct random inspections,” he was quoted as saying in an interview published yesterday by the London-based paper. “We have informed the Iranian officials to stop these flights and to stop arming the Syrian regime or fund any side in this crisis, we have affirmed that Iraq doesn’t accept to be a path for this, or its lands, skies and water to be used for arming or funding.”

International efforts to end the 18-month conflict in Syria have failed to stop the violence as rebels continue the fight, which began in March 2011, to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict has killed 30,000 people, according to estimates by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group.

Syrian troops loyal to Assad killed 120 people across the country yesterday including 57 in or around the capital, Damascus, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said in an e-mailed statement.

Over the weekend, troops also fought with rebels in the commercial hub of Aleppo in a deadly battle that set fire to Aleppo’s historic market, the Souk al-Madina, Al Jazeera reported. The medieval souk, with vaulted stone alleyways, carved wooden doors and shops filled with silk, spices and other luxury goods, is part of Aleppo’s Old City, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Fighting has been deadlocked in Aleppo since rebels pushed into the city in July. Government forces have resorted to heavy weaponry, including attack aircraft, helicopter gunships and artillery, to dislodge rebels from their positions.

To contact the reporters on this story: Zaid Sabah Abd Alhamid in Washington at zalhamid@bloomberg.net; Cotten Timberlake in Washington at ctimberlake@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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