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Damascus, Tunis to exchange ambassadors, end decade-long estrangement

Syria and Tunisia will
reopen their respective embassies, the two countries have said, almost a decade after Tunis severed ties to protest
at a deadly crackdown on protesters opposed to Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.

On Wednesday, Syrian regime said in a statement it had accepted the appointment of a Tunisian ambassador in Damascus and would reopen its own embassy in Tunis with a new envoy there as well.

The announcement further chipped away at Syria’s isolation
in the Arab world arising from its decade-long civil war, which
killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Tunisia reopened a limited diplomatic mission in Damascus in
2017, in part to help track more than 3,000 Tunisian fighters in Syria.

Two months ago Tunisia sent planes of aid to help Syria cope
with the aftermath of two devastating earthquakes that were centred in southern Türkiye and President Kais Saied said he intended to rebuild relations with Damascus.

Since Saied seized almost all powers in July 2021 in what
his political opponents have described as a coup, Tunisia has
sent signals of openness to repair relations with Syria.

READ MORE: Tunisia’s Saied plans to restore ties with Syria after over a decade

Change in regional approach

After the massive February 6 earthquakes in southern Türkiye and northern Syria, aid from regional rivals began to flow in –
as did top-tier visitors with the foreign ministers of Egypt and
Jordan going to Damascus.

Assad in turn travelled to the United Arab Emirates and Oman
for talks.

He is also set to receive the Saudi foreign minister
who is set to invite him to an Arab League summit, upcoming in
Riyadh, for the first time since 2011, sources said.

Syria’s return to the 22-member League would be mostly
symbolic but reflects a change in the regional approach to the
country’s conflict.

Last month, sources said Saudi Arabia and Syrian regime had
reached an agreement to reopen their embassies after the Muslim
holy month of Ramadan, which ends later in April.

The Saudi foreign ministry did not confirm an agreement was reached but said it was in talks with the Syrian regime’s foreign ministry to resume consular services.

READ MORE: ‘Discussion under way’ between Saudi Arabia, Syria over consular services

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