Arab Leaders Back Syrian President, Angering the West
Via The Cradle
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Damascus on Monday to meet with President Bashar al-Assad and express his country’s solidarity with Syria following the devastating earthquake, signifying continued warming of relations between the Syrian government and regional states.
The visit to Syria represents the first by a high-level Egyptian official since the start of the US-backed war in 2011. Upon his arrival at Damascus International Airport, Shoukry was received by Syria’s Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad.
Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Damascus and announced its support for the opposition in 2013, during the presidency of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Muhammad Morsi, who was overthrown that year in a military coup led by Sisi.
Ties were restored the same year following Sisi’s coup. However, relations were never fully mended, and Damascus remains excluded from the Cairo-based Arab League after it was suspended in 2011. In recent years, Jordan and the UAE, two backers of the extremist insurgency in Syria, have restored their relations with the Syrian government.
Since the earthquake, Arab states have embraced Syria. Tunisia has expressed its intention to restore diplomatic ties, and even Saudi Arabia – who actively supported extremist groups with the aim of overthrowing the government – has expressed the need to ‘end the status quo’ regarding enmity with Damascus.
On Sunday, an Iraqi-led delegation of the Union of Arab Parliaments visited Syria along with a number of other Arab parliamentary leaders to express support for the Syrian people and call on all Arab countries to adopt a lasting decision for Syria’s reintegration into the region.
Syria’s gradual return to the regional fold has been much to the dismay of Washington, as it has continued to condemn any normalization with Syria throughout the aftermath of the earthquake. Western media has blatantly attempted to politicize the disaster by referring to the earthquake as a ‘boon’ for Assad.