US Secretary of State John Kerry has been on an unannounced visit to Iraq where he met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to persuade him to stop Iran from using the country’s airspace.
He flew to Baghdad after accompanying US President Barack Obama on his three day visit to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.
The Americans fear that almost daily flights from Iran are delivering personnel, weapons and equipment to the Syrian government.
“I made it very clear to the Prime Minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime,” said Kerry.
Iranian planes must fly through Iraqi airspace to reach Syria, as it sits directly between the two countries, and Turkey would also forbid any Iranian flights carrying weapons to the Assad regime.
Meanwhile on March 25, Syrian opposition campaigners claimed government forces fired chemical weapons at rebel fighters.
They said multiple rocket launchers were used near an army base on the outskirts of Damascus, killing two fighters and wounding 23.