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Tunisian President Kais Saied disclosed on 9 February that Tunisia and Syria are set to restore their diplomatic ties.
Tunis cut ties with Damascus in 2011 in protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ‘human rights abuses’ in the wake of a campaign that sought to oust Assad from power.
The north African country reinstituted a limited diplomatic mission to Syria in 2017 to track over 3,000 Tunisian militants fighting in Syria.
During a meeting at the presidential palace in Tunisia, the Tunisian foreign minister affirmed raising the Tunisian diplomatic representation in Damascus.
According to a Reuters report, following the recent earthquake that struck Syria and Turkiye, taking over 21,000 lives, Assad requested for foreign aid to be delivered through government-controlled territories in the face of international isolation, given the severity of the current circumstances. Tunisia was one of the few nations that provided aid and dispatched rescue teams to Syria.
President Saied reaffirmed Tunisia’s support for the people of Syria. “The issue of the Syrian regime is an internal matter that concerns Syrians alone and that the ambassador relied on the state and not on the regime,” the president added.
Tunisia is the most recent Arab country to pursue normalization with Damascus, following last year, when several other regional states pursued the Syrian government in a bid to establish bilateral relations, such as Jordan, the UAE, and Algeria. Currently, Turkiye and Saudi Arabia are considering establishing ties with Damascus.
Early last month, Assad received the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed, and the two discussed various avenues to develop economic and trade relations.
During the meeting, Assad stressed that the relations between Syria and the UAE are historical and considered it natural to deepen ties to serve the interests of the two countries and the region. In March, President Bashar al-Assad visited the UAE, his first trip to an Arab state since the start of the war in 2011.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also recently hinted that a meeting with Assad may soon occur “as part of efforts for peace” between Ankara and Syria.
A tripartite meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkiye, Russia, and Syria is scheduled to be held in the near future, marking the first of its kind since Ankara cut off Damascus in 2011.