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Syria Today – Syria Reopens Embassy in Riyadh

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Syria Reopens Embassy in Riyadh

After nearly ten years of being closed, the Syrian Embassy in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, has reopened. This comes after months of improved relations between the two nations.

Denominations of Syrian pound are out of circulation; Waiting for 10,000 banknote

Syrian pound denominations are obsolete, and people await the introduction of a 10,000-pound note, Enab Baladi reported

The devaluation of the Syrian pound, with the largest available denomination being the 5,000-pound note (equivalent to half a dollar), has led to a reluctance to use smaller denominations. The government has yet to issue larger banknotes despite economic challenges.

 Citizens and merchants prefer the 2,000 and 5,000-pound notes while counting machines reject smaller denominations due to their declining value. The Central Bank primarily supplies 5,000-pound notes to banks. 

Smaller denominations like 50, 100, and 200 pounds have become practically unusable. The regime’s infrequent introduction of new denominations aims to address budget deficits, but it also erodes confidence in the currency and leads to inflation. 

The introduction of a 10,000-pound note is becoming more likely due to increased government spending, with its impact dependent on supply, demand, and public confidence in the Syrian pound.

Syria reopens embassy in Saudi Arabia

After nearly a decade of closure, the Syrian Embassy in the Saudi capital of Riyadh has reopened its doors following months of rapprochement between the two sides.

The Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported that Consul Ihsan Raman arrived at the headquarters of the Syrian regime’s embassy in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh on Saturday to resume diplomatic work.

Last May, according to MEMO, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the resumption of the work of its mission in Damascus, and the government of Bashar Al-Assad subsequently announced the resumption of the work of its mission in Riyadh.

Raman said Syria’s embassy in Riyadh represents a home for all Syrians and serves the Syrian community in the kingdom, emphasizing that Damascus is working towards opening the embassy’s doors to receive citizens in order to provide the best consular services, particularly to provide passports to those whose documents have expired.

Bashar Al-Assad’s government found itself isolated in 2011 when it was expelled from the Arab League due to its violent crackdown on the Arab Spring protests.

In the decade after the eruption of the civil war, more than 350,000 Syrians were killed, according to the UN. NGOs place the number at over 600,000, with 91 percent of civilian deaths caused by the Assad regime, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

However, as Al-Assad has regained control of most of Syria’s Damascus was readmitted to the Arab League earlier this.

Syrians in Egypt: Social acceptance and successful business

Enab Baladi published a report on the presence of Syrians in Egypt, focusing on their social acceptance and economic impact.

The report starts by highlighting the reasons for Syrian migration to Egypt, which include seeking security due to repression in Syria. It mentions that Egypt is a preferred destination due to its favourable treatment of Syrians.

The report provides current statistics on the Syrian population in Egypt, with numbers from both the International Organization for Migration and the UNHCR. This helps in understanding the scale of the Syrian community in Egypt.

It emphasizes the hospitality of the Egyptian people and their positive attitude towards Syrians, describing Egyptians as “hospitable” and welcoming. This sentiment is linked to cultural affinity, language similarities, and a historical sense of solidarity.

The positive portrayal of Syrians in Egyptian media is highlighted as a contributing factor to social acceptance. Media has focused on the positive contributions of Syrian refugees in Egypt, such as their work ethic and entrepreneurship.

The article points out that Syrians’ commitment to Egyptian social norms and etiquette has enhanced their acceptance. The two communities have developed mutual trust over the years, fostering a sense of coexistence.

The economic aspect of the Syrian presence in Egypt is discussed. Syrian businessmen, investors, and workers have had a significant impact on the Egyptian economy. The article mentions that Syrians own businesses, employ many Egyptians, and contribute to various sectors, including food and manufacturing.

The report touches on the reasons behind the active trade of Syrian businessmen in Egypt. Factors include the size of the local market, easy access to other markets, and the affordability of labour and living in Egypt.

The report notes that Syrian migration to Egypt has increased in recent years due to worsening economic and security conditions in Syria. This suggests that the Syrian community’s impact on Egypt may continue to grow.

Overall, the article portrays a positive picture of Syrian refugees in Egypt, emphasizing their social integration, positive contributions to society, and their role in the Egyptian economy. It highlights the importance of cultural similarities, media representation, and mutual respect in fostering social acceptance.

Normalization with Turkey is impossible until it withdraws troops: Syria

The Syrian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs says Turkey’s illegal occupation of Syrian territory will block all efforts toward any kind of contact and relations, pro-Tehran Al Mayadeen reported.

Syrian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bassam Sabbagh, pointed out that Turkey has to withdraw its military forces from Syria or else it will ruin any efforts toward any kind of relations.

“Turkey has to withdraw its military forces. Any other aspects, yes, of course, we will be open to discussing with them, but not to do so and to insist on staying – that’s an illegal occupation and then this will block all the efforts toward any kind of contact and relations with Turkey,” Sabbagh said in an interview for Sputnik.

A couple of months ago, the head of the Syrian delegation to Moscow and Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan considered that Turkey’s official announcement that it would withdraw its forces from all Syrian territory is “the gateway to re-establish communication between the two sides.”

In a different context, the Syrian Vice Minister also slammed the unilateral sanctions against Syria as inhuman, illegal, and require unconditional lifting, 

“This [unilateral sanctions] is inhuman, this is immoral. We also have, we all have a responsibility to call for the immediate unconditional lifting of the sanctions,” Sabbagh said.

“And I think all of what they claim that the sanction has no impact on the humanitarian situation is false and unfounded,” he told Sputnik.

In late September, Sputnik cited an informed source as saying that the US has taken a series of economic measures aimed at deterring Arab nations’ efforts to reengage with Damascus, causing the Arab League’s special committee to halt contacts with Syria.

Iran to trade Hezbollah arms to Moscow, Arab tribes in Syria – report

In a detailed report, The Jerusalem Post discussed an extraordinary claim made by a Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Jarida, regarding Iran’s alleged plan to create a complex arms deal in Syria. The report suggests that Iran intends to transfer weapons from Hezbollah to Arab tribes in Syria and also send arms to Moscow. 

The report discusses a complex deal involving Iran, Hezbollah, Arab tribes in Syria, and Moscow. According to the report, Hezbollah would exchange a portion of its old weapons for new Iranian weapons. In addition, Moscow would obtain some of Hezbollah’s weapons for its war in Ukraine.

The report provides historical context by mentioning Iran’s historical support for Hezbollah and its role in Syria, especially during the Syrian civil war. It highlights Iran’s goal of entrenching itself in Syria and mentions the presence of IRGC members in the country.

It suggests that this deal could pose a threat to the United States in Syria. By arming Arab tribes in Syria and potentially stirring up trouble, the deal may challenge the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The implication is that this could create instability in areas controlled by the SDF.

The article also mentions that the deal could pose risks to Israel. It suggests that Hezbollah’s acquisition of new and advanced weapons could potentially be used to threaten Israel.

The report suggests a shift in the balance of power in Syria, with Iran and Russia potentially aligning more closely. It indicates that Moscow’s reliance on the Iran-Hezbollah axis in Syria may be increasing.

The report touches on geopolitical considerations involving Russia, Turkey, and Iran. It mentions discussions between Turkey, Russia, the Syrian regime, and Iran regarding normalization and the situation in northern Syria.

The article references a source that reportedly had insights into the agreement and the recent movements of key figures like Ismail Qaani, the leader of the Quds Force.

The article ends by citing Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Bassam Al-Sabbagh’s comments about the transition to a multipolar world, indicating the Syrian regime’s view on changing power dynamics in the region.

Overall, the report highlights a complex and potentially significant development in Syria involving arms transfers, alliances, and potential consequences for the United States, Israel, and regional stability. However, it is essential to note that the information is based on a single source and should be taken with caution until independently verified.

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