The arrival of Syrian troops to oppose Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait surprised many people. But Syria's regime had long been a bitter rival of Iraq's: Both contend for leadership of the radical Arab world and for control of water and oil rights along their mutual border.
That may be changing. In February, the two exchanged the highest level contacts in nearly two decades when their foreign ministers met. Syria has also been very busy courting the Iranians and jointly Damascus and Teheran issued a condemnation of any American military action against Iraq.
But Syria, like many former Soviet clients, has suffered greatly from the end of the Cold War. It is neither as powerful nor as important today as it was in 1990.
Syria involvement in Gulf War 91:
17,000 troops, 300 T-62 tanks
Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade
Ministry of Information Syrian Arab Republic