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    Syrian leader receives credentials from Bahrain ambassador

    DAMASCUS, SYRIA (AP) – A new ambassador from Bahrain formally took up his post in Syria yesterday, the country’s first full diplomatic mission there in more than a decade as Damascus continues to improve its relations with Gulf Arab states.

    President Bashar Assad received the credentials of Ambassador Waheed Mubarak Sayyar in an official ceremony also attended by Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. Sayyar was appointed in December and recently moved to Damascus.

    Assad has been gradually reintegrating into mainstream regional acceptance. His visit to the United Arab Emirates in March was the first such trip to an Arab country since Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011.

    Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League and boycotted by its neighbours after the conflict broke out.

    Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the war, which displaced half of Syria’s population. Large parts of Syria have been destroyed, and reconstruction will cost billions of dollars.

    In recent years the Syrian army has won a series of key military victories with the help of Russia and Iran. The embassy of Bahrain was re-opened in Damascus in 2018.

    Syrian President Bashar Assad shakes hands with Bahrain’s new Ambassador to Syria. PHOTO: AP
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