Syrian Airlines passenger plane lands at Riyadh airport after 12-year hiatus

A passenger plane operated by Syria’s flag carrier, Syrian Airlines, has landed in the Saudi capital Riyadh – the first in more than a decade of foreign-backed militancy,  as part of a thaw in diplomatic relations between the countries.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that the airliner arrived at King Khalid International Airport on Wednesday, marking the resumption of regular commercial flights between the Syrian capital of Damascus and Saudi Arabia.

Syrian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ayman Soussan, said the resumption of flights was “an additional step in the process of development in relations between the two brotherly countries.”

On Monday, Syria’s Ministry of Transport announced in a statement that Syrian Airlines had carried out 97 flights to Saudi Arabia this year for the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage.

It noted that the airline carried 11,000 Syrian pilgrims on direct flights from Damascus to Jeddah and back from Medina to the Syrian capital.

Saudi Arabia appoints first ambassador to Syria in over a decade

Saudi Arabia appoints first ambassador to Syria in over a decade

Saudi Arabia appoints its first ambassador to Syria since the kingdom closed its diplomatic mission in Damascus in 2012.

Saudi Arabia closed its embassy in Damascus and withdrew all diplomats in March 2012.

Back in May 2023, the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies.

In the same month, the Arab League, a 22-member intergovernmental organization of Arab states, agreed to welcome Syria back into the fold with immediate effect after more than a decade.

Syria was one of the six founding members of the Arab League in 1945. The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing an alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests.

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