First flight from Sharjah lands in Latakia as UAE pushes Syria regime normalisation

First flight from Sharjah lands in Latakia as UAE pushes Syria regime normalisation
A flight from Sharjah landed in Latakia Tuesday morning as more Arab countries re-establish ties with the regime in Damascus
2 min read
21 June, 2022
The Cham Wings Airline flight carried 151 passengers from the UAE to Latakia [Getty]

The first flight in years from the United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah landed in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia on Tuesday, in the latest rapprochement move between the UAE and Assad regime.

The Syrian regime’s transportation ministry announced Tuesday morning that the flight arrived at Latakia’s Bassel al-Assad International Airport after a hiatus that lasted years.

The Cham Wings Airlines - sanctioned by the US and Europe - flight carried 151 passengers. It was supposed to land in the capital but had to reroute following Israeli airstrikes earlier this month on the Damascus airport, forcing it shut.

The Latakia airport was partially transformed into the Hmeimim military base for Russia following its intervention in the Syrian civil war in 2015 to support Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

On 3 June, the first flight from Kuwait landed at the Aleppo airport, carrying 88 passengers.

Airports in regime-controlled areas have started reoperating flights to countries that have re-established ties with Assad.

In March, Assad made a controversial trip to the UAE, which marked his first visit to an Arab country since Syria's civil war erupted in 2011.

Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League and boycotted by its neighbours after the conflict broke out.

Some 500,000 people have died and millions of Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries as a result of the war, which began when the Syrian regime brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.