The presidents of Syria and Iraq will meet in Damascus on Jan. 20 to strengthen their newly recreated political and military alliance, the Syrian government newspaper Tishrin said yesterday.
The paper also said Iraq will resume piping crude oil from its Kirkuk oilfields to Syria. The flow was stopped by Iraq two years ago, primarily because of a disagreement with Syria over transit fees.
Initially, the oil reportedly will be for Syrian domestic use but the development appears, in the view of observers, to indicate plans for greater exports of Iraqi oil from Syria's Mediterranean port of Banias.
The pipeline was Iraq's only outlet to the Mediterranean before it was closed in 1976 but since then Iraq has built another pipeline to Iskenderun, a Turkish port.
Iraq and Syria, ruled by rival factions of the Baath Socialist Party, were bitterly divided by political enmity until a few months ago.
They put aside their differences and revived military rejection of the Camp David Middle East accords.
Tishrin said a meeting of the two countries' joint military committee would precede the presidents' talks. The military leaders will meet, the papmer said, as soon as Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas returns from Moscow, where he reportedly is seeking additional Soviet weapons.
In other Middle East developments:
Two Palestinian terrorists, Mohammed Rashid and Mahdi Mohammed, who were serving life sentences for an attack on an Israeli airliner in Istanbul in 1976, escaped from a Turkish prison. Four persons, including a staff aide to U.S. Sen. Jacob Javits, (R-N.Y.) were killed in the 1976 attack.
Spokesmen for Gush Emunim, a militant Jewish faction, said the Israeli government has agreed to allow the establishment of a new settlement on Jordan's occupied West Bank. There was no official confirmation.
The Palestinian National Council, the parliament-in-exile of the Palestinian movement, is to meet in Damascus on Monday, according to reports from there. Representatives from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, denied travel permission by Israel, will not attend, sources said.