Jordan’s FM visits Syria in first such trip since conflict erupted

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Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi arrived in Damascus on Wednesday in the first such visit since the Syrian conflict and will later head to Turkey to show “solidarity” after the quake, an official source said.

The visit will focus on humanitarian needs and how Jordan, a neighbor that hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, can help in ongoing relief operations, Jordanian officials said.

“Safadi will discuss the humanitarian and aid needs that the two countries need,” a statement from the foreign ministry said, adding that aid planes will fly to both countries on Wednesday.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met Safadi in a meeting that Jordanian officials downplayed as a political gesture toward Damascus whom the staunch US ally is at odds with over a range of regional issues.

Assad has been seeking to benefit politically from the quake that has killed thousands in both Turkey and Syria and hoping to capitalize on it to break Western sanctions and ease his country’s diplomatic isolation.

Jordan has sent large shipments of aid to both countries with the kingdom sending a medical hospital to Turkey and organizing several large flights and aid convoys through the country’s northern border crossing with Syria.

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