Syrian president meets Iranian leader in Tehran, Iran state media reports

Dubai (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al Assad made a visit to his closest regional ally Iran and met Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Sunday, Iranian state media reported.

Assad, who was making his second trip to Tehran since the start of Syria’s war in 2011, also met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during his trip, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said during a visit to Damascus in March that Iran’s priority was to strengthen strategic ties with Syria in a changing global scene after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Assad was able to turn the tide of Syria’s civil war, which erupted from pro-democracy protests in 2011, with crucial help from Iran’s proxy militias and Moscow’s major military intervention in 2015.

Iran’s economic influence in Syria has grown in recent years, supplying Assad’s government with credit lines and winning lucrative business contracts.