UPDATE - Syria's Assad Says Damascus, Baghdad Facing Similar Challenges Of Terrorism, Water Theft

CAIRO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 17th July, 2023) Syria and Iraq are facing numerous similar challenges, including terrorism, theft of fresh water resources and drug trafficking, Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Sunday.

"We (Syria and Iraq) have challenges that we are directly dealing with. First of all, it is terrorist threat and cooperation in fighting the terrorism we are constantly witnessing," Assad told a press conference following a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani in Damascus.

Theft of Iraq and Syria's fresh water from the Euphrates and drug trafficking are also high on the agenda, Assad added.

The Iraqi prime minister, in turn, said that the two countries share same issues, and bilateral cooperation needs to be increased in some areas.

Building on efforts of the two leaders, the two countries could start working on various projects such as the revival of the Kirkuk-Baniyas pipeline that has been out of operation since 1982, Iraqi government spokesman Basim Al-Awadi told Sputnik later in the day.

"A topic of the resumption of operation of the Kirkuk-Baniyas oil pipeline to export Iraqi oil through Syria could be raised (in near future)," Al-Awadi said.

On Sunday, Al Sudani arrived in Syria on an official visit. He was received by Assad, with the two leaders discussing bilateral relations between Damascus and Baghdad and issues of mutual interest.