DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – Western diplomatic sources in Syria say they expect a number of European countries to reopen diplomatic missions in Damascus in the “near future” after President Bashar al-Assad won a landslide re-election victory last week.
Syria’s al-Watan daily, citing the sources, reported that diplomats from Greece, Hungary and Serbia have already arrived in Damascus, and preparations are underway to reopen their embassies.
Italy, the source also said, has recently agreed to accredit a Syrian diplomat as a representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, and he may arrive there soon to carry out his duties.
On Sunday, Syria’s Bar Association signed a contract with the Embassy of Cyprus to lease a building in the upscale Abu Rummaneh neighborhood to the Cypriot side to reopen its embassy in Damascus.
Earlier, Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Faisal al-Miqdad said several embassies had already resumed their operations in Damascus, and more Arab and Western embassies will reopen within the next few days.
“We will not allow the United States to abort the opening of the embassies,” Miqdad pointed out.
“We are on the course of mending Arab-Arab relations… Russian friends and others are making efforts in this regard. Meetings are taking place, but with regard to the situation between Arab countries, we do not hide anything. We are optimistic that there will be steps in this field,” he added.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday congratulated President Bashar al-Assad on his re-election, and pledged all possible assistance in the economic recovery of the Arab country.
“China strongly supports the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, will provide all possible assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, in revitalizing the country’s economy and improving the lives of the population, will help to ensure that the Sino-Syrian cooperation rises to a new level,” a statement published by state-run China Central Television read.
In another development, a diplomatic source in Moscow said on Monday some Western intelligence services are establishing contacts with international terrorist groups that operate in Syria.
“According to available information, the special services of Western countries not only indirectly, but also directly establish contacts with international terrorist groups operating in Syria,” the source stated, Sputnik reported.
The source mentioned that the leadership of the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham met with representatives of the United Kingdom’s secret intelligence service MI6 on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Accordion to the diplomatic source, “the possibility of excluding HTS from the lists of terrorist organizations” was discussed.