Iranian president holds rare meeting with Assad in Syria. WGN Radio 720

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Wednesday in an attempt to boost cooperation between the two allies, state media reported.

Tehran has been a key supporter of the Assad regime since the uprising escalated into full-blown war in March 2011 and has played a key role in turning the tide in his favor.

Iran has sent numerous military advisers and thousands of Iranian-backed fighters from across the Middle East to fight by Assad’s side. With the help of Russia and Iran, Syrian government forces have taken control of much of the country in recent years.

In an interview with the pan-Arab TV channel Al-Mayadeen, Raisi called for reconstruction efforts and for refugees fleeing the internal war to return to the country.

Raisi, who will lead a high-level political and economic delegation on a two-day visit to Syria, was greeted by Syria’s Economy Minister Sameer Al-Khalil as he arrived at Damascus International Airport on Wednesday.

He will also visit the shrines of Saida Zeinab and Saida Ruqaiyah, sacred sites of Shiite Islam, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial dedicated to Syrian soldiers killed in battle.

The last Iranian president to visit Syria was President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010.

The Iranian president’s visit comes as several Arab countries, including regional powers Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have opened their doors to Assad and the Iranian foreign minister has visited Damascus in recent weeks. His visit to the Saudi capital Riyadh in April was his first visit since the two countries severed diplomatic ties in 2012.

In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia, a major supporter of the Syrian opposition, reached a deal in China to reestablish diplomatic ties and reopen their embassies after seven years of tension.

Reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia is likely to have a positive impact on countries in the region where the two have fought a proxy war, including Syria.

Syria has been widely shunned by the Arab government over Assad’s brutal crackdown on protesters and the breakdown of relations that culminated in Syria’s expulsion from the Arab League in 2011.

“The United States and its allies have failed on all fronts in their resistance and failed to achieve any of their goals,” Iran’s new ambassador to Syria, Hossein Akbari, told Iran’s state news agency on Tuesday.

The Iranian president’s visit also comes a week after Mehrdad Bazrpash, Minister of Roads and Urban Development, met with Assad in Damascus and conveyed a message from the Iranian president in favor of expanding economic ties between the two countries, according to Iran’s state news agency. be done.

Iran’s military presence in Syria has been a major concern for Israel, which has vowed to stop Iranian trenches along its northern border. Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks against government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, but rarely admits to them. Since the beginning of 2023, Syrian authorities have attributed more than a dozen strikes in Syrian territory to Israel, the latest of which occurred early Tuesday morning when the international airport in the northern city of Aleppo was struck. made unusable. Iranian president holds rare meeting with Assad in Syria. WGN Radio 720

Related Articles

Back to top button