Iraqi foreign minister meets Syria`s Assad in Damascus

Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari met Tuesday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the first visit by a senior Baghdad official since Syria`s conflict began in 2011. 

Jaafari told a press conference at Damascus airport that he met with the embattled P[esident on Tuesday morning and held talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem. 

Syrian state television reported that the two foreign ministers discussed combatting terrorism. 

According to Syria`s official news agency SANA, deputy foreign minister Faisal Muqdad met Jaafari at Damascus airport. 

In June 2014, Damascus announced its readiness to coordinate with Baghdad in order to face the threat posed by the Islamic State group, which has a strong presence in both countries.

In September, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi dispatched national security advisor Faleh Fayyad as an envoy to meet with Assad. 

Fayyad`s visit came shortly after a US-led coalition began its air strikes against IS, which controls large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. 

Shiite militias are supporting both Iraqi forces and Syrian regime troops in attempts to retake territory from IS. 

While the Syrian regime`s diplomatic links have deteriorated worldwide, particularly with Gulf countries, it has maintained ties with Baghdad. 

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