Iran and Syria to Bolster Ties After Ukraine Crisis
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian arrived in Damascus on Wednesday and said Iran’s priority was to strengthen strategic ties in a changing global scene after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Amirabdollahian told reporters on his arrival that his country stood with Syria in “the same trench” and that ties with Damascus were going through their best phase.
“We are talking about strategic ties and today, aside from all the dimensions of our relationship, the issue of economic relations is the priority,” he told reporters.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the Ukraine crisis and its repercussions would be a focus for talks between the two Middle East allies, both under Western sanctions.
“We are holding talks after the major developments after the Russian operation (in Ukraine) and we will discuss our joint positions towards these developments,” Mekdad added.
President Bashar al Assad was able to turn the tide of Syria’s civil war, which erupted from pro-democracy protests in 2011, with crucial help from Iran’s proxy militias and with Moscow’s major military intervention in 2015.
Iran has consolidated its military position in Syria, where bases run by its Shi’ite Muslim militias are frequently targets of attacks by Israel, which wants to erode Tehran’s influence.
Tehran’s economic influence in the war torn country has grown in recent years, supplying Assad’s government with credit lines and winning lucrative business contracts.