Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is set to visit Damascus on Wednesday, marking the first visit by an Iranian president to Syria since the civil war erupted twelve years ago. The upcoming trip which will see Raisi to visit Damascus follows increased regional engagement between Iran and Syria, and Tehran’s recent landmark agreement to restore ties with regional rival Saudi Arabia.
According to Syria’s state news agency SANA, Raisi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will discuss bilateral ties, shared economic and political issues, and recent positive developments in the region. Preparations for Raisi’s visit, which includes an Iranian “economic-political delegation,” have been underway for several days in Damascus.
The last Iranian president to visit Damascus was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September 2010. Analyst Osama Danura has said that Raisi’s visit will “open a new page in the close relationship between the two countries” and may focus on long-term economic strategies, with Iran poised to play a significant role in Syria’s reconstruction phase.
During Raisi’s visit, a “large number of agreements and memoranda of understanding” will be signed, including those concerning energy and electricity. Discussions regarding a new Iranian credit line for Syria to invest in the power sector will also be held.
Iran has provided crucial economic, political, and military support to Syria during the conflict, helping Damascus regain lost territory and placing Iran in a leading role as al-Assad seeks to prioritise reconstruction. Both countries continue to face heavy Western sanctions.
Image Credit: Iranian Presidency Office via AP