Direct flights between Baghdad and Damascus to resume on Thursday

Following a two-year hiatus, Syrian Airlines will fly to the Iraqi capital amid high demand

Damascus International Airport. AFP
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Flights between Baghdad and Damascus will resume on Thursday in response to high demand, the Syrian state news agency said this week.

Round-trip flights will run on a weekly basis on Sundays and Thursdays.

“Baghdad is one of the important stops in the work map of Syrian Airlines,” the airline's director general Obeida Gabriel said.

After two years, “the resumption of operations comes due to the improvement in the operational capacity of the flights, and the increase in the demand for travel between Syria and Iraq,” he said.

Syria's ambassador to Iraq Sattam Al Dandah announced earlier in January that Iraqi and Syrian commercial cargo lorries would be allowed to enter both countries in the coming days.

Trade between Iraq and Syria was halted following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Iraqi authorities prevented Syrian cargo lorries from entering the country due to security and health concerns, he said.

“The trade exchange with Iraq represents Syria’s most important commercial partnerships in the region,” Mr Al Dandah said.

The airport is in a region south of Damascus where Iran-backed groups including Hezbollah regularly operate.

The last time the airport was out of service was in June 2022, after an Israeli missile strike.

It is not unusual for Israel to attack targets in Syria that it believes are linked to Iran, where Tehran-backed militias, including Lebanon's Hezbollah, are stationed in support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Ties between Iraq and Syria have been rocky over the past decade but have recently improved.

The Syrian war has been going on for more than 11 years and has claimed more than 350,000 lives, according to the UN.

Updated: January 31, 2023, 10:53 AM