Bahrain says it will resume operations at its embassy in Syria some seven years after it shuttered its embassy in Damascus in the early days of the civil war.
The move, announced one day after the United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus, reflects an effort by Gulf Arab states to improve relations with Bashar Assad as his forces win a series of military victories with the help of Russia and Iran. Early in the civil war, Gulf Arab states supported the opposition seeking to oust Assad.
In a Foreign Ministry statement Friday, Bahrain said it affirms the importance of continued relations with Syria, emphasizing "the Arab role" in preserving Syria's independence and preventing dangerous regional intervention in its affairs — an apparent reference to Iran's strengthened foothold.
The decision comes on after a surprisingly warm meeting between the Syrian foreign minister and his Bahraini counterpart on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September. The meeting turned heads because it featured hugs between the two ministers.