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Syria's relations with Iraq, U.S.

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(CNN) -- Here is a brief timeline of Syria's recent ties with Iraq and the United States:

October 1978: Syria and Iraq sign a Joint National Memorandum of Action signaling an end to chilly relations, with an eye toward military and eventual political unity.

June 1979: Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and Iraqi President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr agree to establish one leadership that would govern both countries.

December 1979: A meeting between Assad and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein shows a fundamental disagreement between the two leaders and marks the beginning of the collapse of relations.

1980-88: Syria criticizes Iraq for its war with Iran and supports Iran in the war, further deteriorating ties between the neighboring countries.

1990: Relations between Iraq and Syria reach a critical stage when Damascus joins the international coalition that liberates Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation.

1997: Syria and Iraq reach a breakthrough in relations after agreeing to reopen their border and re-establish political and economic ties.

2000: Assad dies and is succeed by his son, Bashar al-Assad, who takes a more open approach to the West than his father did.

2001: Syria condemns the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and helps Washington in its fight against terrorism. Syria and Iraq sign a free-trade agreement.

2002: Syria, a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, supports Resolution 1441 reinstating weapons inspectors in Iraq and threatening "serious consequences" if Baghdad fails to comply.

2003: Syria refuses to support any U.N. resolution authorizing war against Iraq.

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