Arab states are preparing to restore their presence in Syria after years of absence following the outbreak of a foreign-sponsored conflict more than seven years ago, with Bahrain being the next in the line of countries to reopen its embassy in Damascus.
Diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency that Bahrain’s mission in the Syrian capital would resume its activities next week.
Bahrain decided to shut down its embassy in Damascus and to withdraw all diplomats and staff on March 15, 2012.
On Thursday, the United Arab Emirates officially reopened its embassy in Damascus.
The Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the reopening of its embassy “reaffirms the keenness of the United Arab Emirates to restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course.”
The move “will strengthen and activate the Arab role in supporting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian Arab affairs,” the ministry pointed out.
UAE’s charge d’affaires Abdul Hakim Naimi visited the embassy in the afternoon, and witnessed his country’s flag being raised on the compound in central Damascus.
The development is another sign that the incumbent Damascus government is being admitted back into the Arab world.
On December 18, an Iraqi diplomatic source, requesting not to be named, said President Barham Salih was going to pay an official visit to Damascus.
The report came only two days after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab League leader to visit Damascus.
Syria’s official news agency SANA said Bashir was greeted by his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, before they both headed to the presidential palace.
The two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the “situations and crises faced by many Arab countries,” the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
SANA quoted the Sudanese leader as saying during the meeting that he hoped Syria will recover its important role in the region as soon as possible.
He also affirmed Khartoum’s readiness to provide all it can to support Syria’s territorial integrity.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.