Bahrain names its first ambassador to Syria in over a decade

Bahrain appoints its first ambassador to Syria in more than a decade, the island nation’s state news agency reports, the latest sign of a stepped-up outreach to Damascus by Gulf Arab countries.

The decree by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa comes as more Arab countries are improving relations with Damascus nearly 11 years since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed large parts of the country.

Early in the conflict, Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar rushed to back Sunni fighters battling Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League in 2011. Arab countries sanctioned Damascus and condemned its use of military force against civilians.

In recent years, however, the Syrian army has won a series of key military victories with the help of Russia and Iran.

The Bahrain News Agency says the king appointed Waheed Mubarak Sayyar as the kingdom’s “ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Syria.” The embassy of Bahrain was reopened in Damascus in 2018.

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