Critical Time: Abdollahian in Damascus Following Israeli Raids, Preceding the Battle of Rafah

This visit marks Amir-Abdollahian's first trip to Syria since October 13

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian concluded a visit to Syria on Sunday, during which he held discussions with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad. Notably absent from official discourse was any mention of recent Israeli raids targeting leaders of the Revolutionary Guards, although these events loomed large over the visit. The timing of Amir-Abdollahian’s trip coincides with Israeli threats to escalate hostilities in Gaza and potentially spark conflict in Rafah, which could further escalate regional tensions.

Amir-Abdollahian’s visit follows a series of Israeli airstrikes on Iranian militia positions in Syria, including the recent strike on Hamra Street in Homs. Additionally, just ten days prior, U.S. airstrikes targeted approximately 85 Iranian militia targets in Syria and Iraq.

Israeli warplanes bombed Dimas airport, located west of Damascus, last Saturday night, reportedly targeting Syrian military infrastructure, as confirmed by the deputy of the Russian Reconciliation Centre in Syria.

This visit marks Amir-Abdollahian’s first trip to Syria since October 13. It’s worth noting that both visits commenced in Lebanon with a meeting with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Syria Today – Israeli Airstrike; Abdollahian in Damascus

In a statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry emphasized the importance of the private sector in fostering economic relations between Iran and Syria. The statement called for joint efforts to remove obstacles and accelerate cooperation in this area. Notably, initial emphasis in the statement was on economic matters, with a discussion of the Israeli raids and the conflict in Gaza mentioned afterward.

Foreign Minister Mekdad expressed satisfaction with the meeting with his Iranian counterpart, highlighting the importance of Amir-Abdollahian’s visit to Damascus at this critical juncture. Mekdad reaffirmed strong coordination between Iran and Syria on regional and international issues, underscoring the significance of bilateral relations between Tehran and Damascus across various domains.

Following discussions with Mekdad, Amir-Abdollahian met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, delivering an official invitation from the Iranian president for Assad to visit Tehran.

Iran’s Mehr news agency reported Assad’s affirmation of the regime’s steadfast support for resistance efforts, emphasizing that this policy remains unchanged. However, this support has drawn criticism from Iranian opposition media, particularly regarding Assad’s perceived silence towards the Israeli war on Gaza, despite Syria’s integral role in the so-called axis of resistance.

While Israeli and American airstrikes targeting IRGC commanders in Syria dominated headlines, Amir-Abdollahian’s visit also included celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Damascus. At the event, Amir-Abdollahian referenced the shared sacrifice of Iranian and Syrian lives in the ongoing conflict, alluding to the recent raids that claimed the lives of several militia members and commanders.

During discussions with Amir-Abdollahian, Assad condemned Israeli escalations in Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon, characterizing them as desperate attempts to alleviate pressure from Israel and its Western allies.

Iranian opposition media outlets covering Amir-Abdollahian’s visit to Syria suggested collusion between members of the Syrian security services and Israel in the targeting of IRGC commanders in Damascus. Reports also surfaced alleging a withdrawal of senior Iranian commanders from Syria to prevent further targeting.

However, Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Hossein Akbari, dismissed these reports, asserting Iran’s unwavering presence in Syria and emphasizing the relationship between the two countries as based on principles rather than solely economic interests.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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