The Syrian President will visit China on Thursday

The Syrian President will visit China on Thursday

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will head Thursday on an official visit to China, his first to the Damascus-allied country since before the outbreak of the conflict 12 years ago, according to what the Syrian presidency announced on Tuesday.

The presidency said in a statement, "In response to an official invitation from President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China, President Bashar al-Assad and First Lady Asma al-Assad will visit China starting the day after tomorrow, Thursday."

The visit includes meetings and events in the cities of Hangzhou and Beijing, and Assad is also accompanied by a political and economic delegation.

According to the Syrian newspaper Al-Watan, which is close to the government, Al-Assad is supposed to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Hangzhou on the 23rd of this month.

China is considered one of the countries allied with Damascus, and has provided it with support, especially in international forums and the UN Security Council, where it has repeatedly abstained from voting for resolutions that are not in the interest of Damascus.

Al-Assad's visit to China is the first by a Syrian president since 2004. China is also the third non-Arab country that Al-Assad has visited during the years of ongoing conflict in his country since 2011.

Chinese officials visited Damascus during the period of the bloody conflict, including the Chinese Foreign Minister, who met with Assad in the Syrian capital in 2021, and also held a video meeting in 2022 with his Syrian counterpart, Faisal al-Miqdad. The late Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem visited Beijing in 2019.

This year witnessed changes in the Syrian diplomatic arena, represented by Damascus resuming its relations with several Arab countries, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, regaining its seat in the League of Arab States, and then the Syrian President’s participation in the Arab Summit in Jeddah in May.

Diplomatic transformations accelerated on the Arab scene after a surprising Chinese-brokered agreement announced in March, which resulted in the resumption of relations that were severed between Saudi Arabia and Iran, an ally of Damascus.