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Mattis denies existence of Iranian 'land bridge' across Middle East

In an impromptu visit with reporters on Friday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis denied that Iran had succeeded in constructing a "land bridge" through the Middle East.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis looks on during a bilateral meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RC1F94FFD4B0
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As the Pentagon prepares to release its first strategy under the Donald Trump administration later this month, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said today that Iran has not succeeded in creating a so-called land bridge through Syria to the Mediterranean Sea.

Over the summer, Iranian-backed groups helped Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad regain access to large oil fields near the Iraqi border and gave Tehran a chance to link up with Shiite militias in Iraq. The move stoked fears that Iran would use those gains to send more Shiite fighters into the region and establish a Shiite crescent all the way to Lebanon.

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