DUBAI: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited his closest regional ally, Iran, on Sunday (May 8) for talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during which both leaders called for stronger ties between Tehran and Damascus, Iranian state media reported.
Assad, who was making his second trip to Tehran since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, also met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during his trip, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported.
“Today’s Syria is not what it was before the war, although there was no destruction then, 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 state of Iran. TELEVISION.
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 militias and Russia’s major military intervention in 2015.
Iranian state television quoted Assad as saying that “the strategic ties between Iran and Syria have prevented the Zionist regime’s (Israel) dominance in the region.” Iran’s Nournews said that Assad had left Tehran for Syria.
Israel, which the Islamic Republic refuses to recognize, has launched frequent strikes against what it has described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have been 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 the Assad government with lines of credit and winning lucrative business contracts.