Iraqi PM visits Syria in first trip since 2011

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani visited Syria on Sunday, becoming the first Iraqi premier to do so since 2011. The visit focuses on securing the shared border and strengthening economic relations.

Iraq and Syria maintained relations despite other Arab states withdrawing ambassadors and closing embassies in Syria.

Baghdad and Damascus, supported by armed groups from Iran, joined forces to combat the ISIS. The militant group had gained control over a significant portion of Iraq and Syria.

Farhad Alaaldin, foreign affairs adviser to the prime minister, announced that Sudani will discuss combating drug flow and preventing ISIS infiltration along their 600km border.

The prime minister plans to discuss trade, economic cooperation, and reopening an oil export pipeline in the Mediterranean in a bid to help Iraq diversify its export routes.

Sudani’s visit signals improving relations between countries, like Saudi Arabia, and Damascus.

Syria suspended from Arab League in 2011 due to Assad’s crackdown on protests. Gulf states backed armed opposition.

Assad now controls most of Syria, supported by Russia and Iran. In May, Syria was allowed back into the Arab League. Regional countries want to talk to Assad about stopping drug smuggling and bringing back refugees.

Syrian officials and Assad’s relatives face sanctions in the US, UK, and EU for alleged trade connections.

Syrian government denies drug trade involvement.

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