In a major move to reduce the isolation of his regime, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad called Jordan’s King Abdullah on Sunday, for the first time in a decade.
Jordan’s king has been advocating normalization of relations with Assad, calculating that the Syrian leader was there to stay. Jordan opposed Assad as a bloody civil war began in Syria a decade ago and even called for him to resign.
Abdullah affirmed his country’s support for “efforts to preserve Syria’s sovereignty, stability, territorial integrity and people.”
Reuters reports that Abdullah has been pressing Washington for months to engage Syria and back Russia's intervention in the war-torn country, saying this is needed to wean the country away from Iran's growing foothold, officials say.
The US State Department said on Wednesday that Washington has no plans to "normalize or upgrade" diplomatic relations with Assad's government and also does not encourage others to do so.
Amman has sought Russia's support to rein in the growing foothold of pro-Iranian militias who hold sway in southern Syria along the Syrian border with Jordan which has also alarmed Israel and Washington, officials add.
With reporting by Reuters and AP