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Jordan to reopen embassy in Syria

A charge d'affaires has been sent to Damascus to start work again in Jordan's embassy in the Syrian capital

Jan 23


A charge d'affaires has been sent to Damascus to start work again in Jordan's embassy in the Syrian capital, the Jordanian foreign ministry announced on Tuesday.

Although diplomatic ties were never severed, relations were strained between the two middle-eastern neighbors since Jordan recalled its ambassador in 2011 amid events leading to the Syrian civil war. Syria has since accused Jordan of supporting some rebels against the regime, while Jordan expelled the Syrian ambassador in 2014.

But ties have become better in recent months, as Assad's isolation in the Arab world is starting to crack. Jordan reopened its border with Syria in October, allowing close to 30,000 Syrian refugees to return home.

It is a drop out of an ocean of forced migrants, which Jordanian authorities estimate might be up to 1.3 million. But it has heralded the rekindling of ties, with Jordanian MPs going on an official delegation in November, and calling for a general boost of relations with Syria in December.

There are strong signals that the Arab world as a whole is warming up again to Bashar al-Assad. The UAE announced it reopened its embassy in Damascus in December, and Bahrain is likely to do the same.

Sudan president was in Damascus in December too, a trip that was likely to be sanctioned by Saudi Arabia. And a direct flight between Damascus and Tunis got observers speculating as to whether the Assad regime might be allowed to participate in an April Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital - where the Arab Spring started.

Damascus welcomed the Jordanian move, with Acting Ambassador to Jordan Ayman Alloush confirming to reporters that Jordanian embassy staff were "administrators who have been given a diplomatic title. We hope the Jordanian embassy in Syria will soon be fully staffed," Alloush added.