Bahrain appoints first ambassador to Syria in over a decade

Gulf Arab states downgraded or shut missions in Damascus after the Syrian government used force against the 2011 protests that developed into a war.

Bahrain has appointed its first ambassador to Damascus since it downgraded ties early in the conflict in Syria.

The appointment of Waheed Mubarak Sayyar, reported on Thursday by Bahrain’s state news agency BNA, is part of a diplomatic shift in the Middle East as a growing number of Arab countries revive ties with President Bashar al-Assad.

Gulf Arab states downgraded or shut their missions in Damascus after the Syrian government used force against the 2011 protests that developed into a war.

Bahrain has said its embassy, and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama, have remained operational.

Last month, the United Arab Emirates, which reopened its mission to Damascus in late 2018, sent its foreign minister to Damascus where he met al-Assad. It has called for Syria to be readmitted to the Arab League.

Abu Dhabi began to re-engage with Damascus after the Syrian army won a series of key military victories with the help of Russia and Iran.

The UAE was one of several regional states to back rebel groups in Syria, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have not re-established ties with Damascus.

Oman last year became the first Gulf state to reinstate an ambassador to Syria.

Most Gulf countries, at odds with regional rival and Shia powerhouse Iran, seek warmer ties with Damascus, hoping to peel it away from Tehran’s influence.

Iran is a traditional ally of Syria and has sent advisers and resources to back al-Assad during the conflict that broke out in March 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera

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