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At least 26 Iraqis among killed in Syria road accident

BAGHDAD (AP) — At least 26 Iraqis were among those killed in a Syrian highway accident last week, in which a fuel truck collided with passenger buses and other cars, Iraqi's foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday.

Ahmad al-Sahhaf said at least 16 Iraqis were also injured in what he described as a “regretful” traffic accident, and not a militant attack. He said the bodies will be transported to Iraq.

Syrian state media quoted local officials saying at least 32 were killed in the accident and 77 were injured.

Iraqi politicians called for an investigation, saying the passengers were Shiite pilgrims on their way to visit shrines in Damascus, which has been largely protected from the ongoing war. But such convoys have previously come under attack from armed groups.

Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed Khaled Rahmoun, who visited the area outside the capital of Damascus late Saturday, told reporters faulty brakes apparently caused the driver to lose control of the fuel truck. He said at least 15 other vehicles were damaged.

A video from the scene of the crash showed a number of badly mangled vehicles, damaged passenger buses with broken windshields and twisted frames, while forklifts worked to remove them from the highway.

Syria's infrastructure has been devastated by the ongoing civil war, which enters its tenth year next week.

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