Spillover attacks from the civil war in Syria have hindered development of Iraq’s gas and oil reserves and a major pipeline to the Mediterranean has been blown up dozens of times, Iraq’s top energy official said on Tuesday.

Violence in Iraq climbed back to its highest level in five years in 2013, with nearly 9,000 people killed, most of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

“The ongoing conflict in Syria has resulted in an increasing number of terrorists using vast desert areas between Syria and Iraq to establish bases from which they have carried out attacks against the civilian population and economic targets and infrastructure,” Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani said. […]