Syria’s Middle East Neighbors Are Thawing Ties With Damascus

Syria’s Middle East Neighbors Are Thawing Ties With Damascus
Syrian President Bashar Assad reviews an honor guard at the Syrian Presidential Palace in Damascus, Syria, July 17, 2021 (photo by the Syrian Presidency via Facebook via AP).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. 

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been steadily pushing toward normalizing relations with a number of the states that had formally supported the opposition after the outbreak of Syria’s civil war 10 years ago. Two significant milestones this week suggest that momentum is shifting in Assad’s favor.

First, last Saturday, Jordan reopened a border crossing that is crucial to trade between the two countries. And in a phone call between the two leaders on Sunday, King Abdullah II made it clear to Assad that he wants to “bolster cooperation” with Syria. 

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