Bashar al-Assad with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Amman, 2009
Seeking a renewal of links with Amman, Syria’s Assad regime hosted a delegation of Jordanian lawmakers in Damascus on Monday.
Bashar al-Assad met the group, led by MP Abdul Karim al-Doghmi, on Monday.
Regime media issued a template description of “the importance of activating bilateral relations” for the “interests of the two brotherly peoples”. They asserted that the Jordanian delegation said “the pulse of the Jordanian street has always been with the Syrian people in the face of the terrorist war…as Syria is the first line of defense for the entire Arab region” against “Western projects…in service of Israel’s security”.
Assad reportedly issued his standard statement, “The adherence of the Syrian people and army to their national belonging has been one of the basic factors which contributed to their steadfastness despite all the attempts that targeted this belonging.”
The regime is looking to a renewal of relations both for political legitimacy and for economic benefit, as the crippled Syrian economy needs reconstruction funds for at least $400 billion in damage during the 92-month conflict.
Last month the regime and Jordan reopened the vital Naseeb border crossing in southern Syria, which carried billions of dollars of trade before the conflict, after a three-year closure.
Arab countries cut off the regime in the early days of the conflict, freezing its membership in the Arab League.
The regime has also reportedly had talks with Egyptian officials, and pro-Assad sites are playing up claims that the UAE and even Saudi Arabia, a leading backer of Syrian rebels, are pursuing discreet contacts.