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Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said the 1,500-kilometer (900-mile) pipeline will pass through Iraq before reaching Syria.

Iran began construction of the first phase of the project involving a 225-kilometer (140-mile) stretch at an estimated cost of $3 billion. The Fars report Monday said the entire project is to be completed in the second half of 2013. The deal was signed between Iran, Iraq and Syria last July.

Along with Russia and China, Iran has been an ally of Damascus during the conflict.

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Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.