Syrian President meets Iranian leader in Tehran


Syrians and Palestinians living in Syria stand next to a poster depicting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as they mark the annual al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day), in Damascus, Syria, on April 29, 2022. REUTERS/Firas Makdesi/File Photo

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DUBAI, May 8 (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad traveled to his closest regional ally Iran on Sunday for talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during which two leaders called for strengthening ties between Tehran and Damascus, Iranian state media reported.

Assad, who was on his second trip to Tehran since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, also met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during his trip, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

“Syria today is not what it was before the war, although there was no destruction at the time, but the respect and prestige of Syria are greater than before, and everyone sees this country as a power,” Khamenei told Assad, according to the Iranian state. TV.

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Assad managed to turn the tide of Syria’s civil war, which erupted following pro-democracy protests in 2011, with crucial help from Iran’s proxy militias and major military intervention from Russia in 2015.

Iranian state television quoted Assad as saying that “the strategic ties between Iran and Syria have prevented the Zionist (Israeli) regime’s dominance in the region.” Iranian Nournews said Assad left Tehran for Syria.

Israel, which the Islamic Republic refuses to recognize, has launched frequent attacks on what it described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah have deployed over the past decade to support Assad in the war in Syria.

Iranian President Raisi said in a meeting with Assad that his government’s priority was to strengthen strategic ties with Syria, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran’s economic influence in Syria has grown in recent years, providing Assad’s government with lines of credit and winning lucrative commercial contracts.

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Written by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Edmund Blair, Susan Fenton and Raissa Kasolowsky

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