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Mauritania president to visit Damascus for Assad meeting: reports

Mauritania has maintained relations with the Assad regime [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 December, 2018

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Reports have emerged that Mauritania's president will visit Damascus amid efforts to return Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad to the diplomatic arena.
Reports have emerged that Mauritania's president will visit Damascus amid efforts to return Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the diplomatic arena.

Citing unnamed sources, local newspaper Eljewahir reported that Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz will meet Assad in the Syrian capital early next month.

"Staff at the Syrian embassy in Nouakchott has confirmed the visit to people close to them," the report said.

The report was published days after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab leader to visit Damascus since the start of the war in Syria in 2011.

Khalil Ould Judoud, a correspondent for Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya, said that the Mauritanian leader will make an official trip to Damascus on 4 January.

Mauritania has maintained relations with the Assad regime despite the Arab League suspending Syria's membership at the end of 2011 following months of brutal repression of anti-regime demonstrations.

Last year, a delegation of Mauritanian lawmakers held talks with Assad.

The reports come as Gulf states the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced the reopening of their embassies in Damascus.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the Syrian war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the Assad regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

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