The Soviet Union is mediating between Syria and Iraq to head off a possible military confrontation between the two Arab foes in Lebanon, a Beirut newspaper reported Friday.

The independent An-Nahar, quoting a diplomatic source, said "Moscow is seeking to avert an Iraqi-Syrian war" in the strife-torn Middle East nation."The Soviet Union is exerting behind-the-scene efforts to heal the Iraqi-Syrian rift and dissuade Iraq from its new stance in Lebanon, which would lead to a (military) confrontation on Lebanese territory," the source told An-Nahar.