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Syria 'reducing troop numbers' on Iraq border

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Syria 'reducing troop numbers' on Iraq border


Syria is reducing its military presence on its border with Iraq, according to a report from a private Syrian television station.

The measure has not been officially confirmed but if true will strike a massive blow to already fragile relations between Syria and the US.

Damascus wants an apology for a US air raid on the Syrian village of Abu Kamal on Sunday that it says killed eight civilians. Washington has neither denied nor confirmed the strike, but un-named US officials have said the operation successfully eliminated a major smuggler of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The American embassy in Damascus was closed on Thursday amid fears a mass demonstration to denounce the raid would turn violent.

Thousands marched in the capital but no trouble was reported.

Syria says it is doing what it can to patrol its long, porous border with Iraq, but warns it will stop cooperating if there are any more US raids.

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