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Syria’s national airline resumes Saudi flights after 12 years

RIYADH (AFP) – Syria’s national airline resumed regular services to Saudi Arabia after a 12-year suspension yesterday as the first flight arrived in Riyadh.

The move, announced by Syrian Airlines and confirmed to AFP by Syria’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, continues a slow rapprochement between the two governments who restored diplomatic relations last year.

Ambassador Ayman Soussan said a Syrian Airlines plane carrying 170 passengers touched down in the Saudi capital, marking the resumption of a regular route.

He said the two countries have agreed to “operate one round-trip flight per week between Riyadh and Damascus”.

Syrian Transport Ministry official Suleiman Khalil said the direct route could be expanded to cover airports in the Saudi cities of Jeddah and Dammam, depending on demand.Passenger flights between the two countries were halted in 2012. Services between Syria and Saudi Arabia resumed in May on a temporary basis for pilgrims taking part in the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah.

File photo of Damascus International Airport. PHOTO: AFP