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March 19, 2003


LONDON [MENL] -- Syria has found a major source of revenue in the smuggling
of Iraqi oil.

Industry sources said the regime of President Bashar Assad has earned more than $1 billion in revenues from Iraqi oil in 2002. They said the rate of revenues has risen sharply in proportion with the jump in oil prices.

Syria obtains about 250,000 barrels per day from two pipelines from Iraq, the sources said. One pipeline brings oil to the Mediterranean port of Banyas and the other is connected to the Syrian oil grid. In all, Syria hasincreased oil exports to 450,000 barrels per day.

The sources said Damascus pays Iraq about $12 a barrel of oil. The rest is kept by the Syrian regime. The price of a barrel of crude on the open market has approached $40.
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