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The first passenger train from Iraq arrived in Turkey on Wednesday after the two neighbours revived a historic rail link as part of a drive to boost bilateral ties, officials said.

The train, which embarked from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, was greeted with an official ceremony in Gaziantep, southern Turkey, covering the distance of some 500 kilometres (310 miles) in 18 hours.

The resumption of rail services was among a series of agreements that Turkey and Iraq signed last year in a bid to boost economic exchange.

The train, which links the two countries via Syria, is scheduled to make one run in both directions each week.

It had 13 passengers on its first trip Wednesday, Anatolia news agency reported.

The Mosul-Gaziantep link is part of a railway linking Istanbul and Baghdad, built in the dying years of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.

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