Iran President Raisi makes historic trip to Syria, meets President Assad
Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi has arrived in Syria for a historic visit aimed at boosting bilateral ties as Damascus launches reconstruction after more than a decade of war with foreign-backed terrorist groups.
He was greeted at Damascus International Airport on Wednesday by Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil.
He was later welcomed by President Assad in an official ceremony.
The visit is the first by an Iranian president since the foreign-backed militancy gripped the Arab country in 2011.
Speaking to reporters before leaving Tehran, the Iranian chief executive said the trip is in line with the “completely strategic” Tehran-Damascus relations, noting that perseverance and resistance against the enemies – the notions repeatedly highlighted by Iranian officials – have worked.
“Today, it is clear to everyone in the region that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a strong pillar that everyone can trust and that it plays a major and effective role in regional developments,” he added.
Raeisi also said that Iran and Syria have the will to expand ties, something that will benefit both nations and the region.
“The Iran-Syria relations are completely strategic. Enemies did their best to integrate Syria and damage Damascus’ ties with regional states,” he asserted.
The Iranian president further urged respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The US created terrorist outfits in the region, but resistance groups, along with Iran, Iraq, Syria and other regional countries, stood up against them, he emphasized.
“The self-proclaimed fighters against terrorism martyred the hero of the anti-terror battle, General Qassem Soleimani. They should be held accountable before the world’s public opinion and awakened consciences.”
‘Several documents to be signed on economic cooperation’
Meanwhile, President Raeisi’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs said that during the visit, several documents will be signed on expanding economic cooperation between the two countries amid attempts to materialize Iran’s active economic presence on the Mediterranean coast.
"The presence of Iranian pilgrims and tourists in Syria and the strengthening of transit infrastructure are among the topics that will be raised during the meetings," Mohammad Jamshidi added.
Iran has over the past years faced geopolitical challenges, ranging from the wars in Syria and Yemen to the emergence of Daesh and the spread of terrorism, Jamshidi said, noting, however, that the enemies’ political measures have failed and the Islamic Republic has emerged victorious.