Syrian president meets Iranian leader in Tehran: Iranian state media

DUBAI: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited his closest regional ally Iran on Sunday (May 8) for talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 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 war in Syria in 2011, also met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during his trip, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported.

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

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

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

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

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

Iran’s economic influence in Syria has increased in recent years, granting the Assad government credit lines and winning lucrative business contracts.

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