Middle East

Mauritania affirms good ties with Syria's Assad regime

North African nation kept diplomatic ties with Assad regime following brutal 2011 crackdown on protesters

Mauritania affirms good ties with Syria's Assad regime

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania

Mauritania's new president on Thursday sent a letter of congratulations to Bashar al-Assad, head of the Syrian regime, on Syria's national day, the Mauritanian News Agency said.

The letter Mohamed Ould Ghazouani sent to Assad is considered his first diplomatic move towards the Syrian regime since he took office in August 2019.

Syria's membership in the Arab league has been suspended since 2011, when the Assad regime launched a harsh crackdown on pro-democracy protests, sparking nine years of civil war.

"On the occasion of the Syrian Arab Republic's National Day, it is my pleasure to express my congratulations, wishing further progress and prosperity to the fraternal Syrian people," Ghazouani said in his letter.

He also confirmed continuing bilateral relations between the two countries for the benefit of their peoples.

The North African nation of Mauritania kept its diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime following the Syrian crisis in 2011, with each keeping embassies open in Nouakchott and Damascus, their respective capitals.

The Syrian Embassy in Mauritania holds regular meetings with Mauritanian officials.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands were killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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