Flights, cross-border trade to resume between Syria and Iraq

Flights, cross-border trade to resume between Syria and Iraq
Flights will return between the Syrian and Iraqi capitals after a two-year halt.
2 min read
30 January, 2023
Damascus airport has been forced to shut several times during Syria's 12-year conflict [Getty/archive]

Flights will resume between the Syrian and Iraqi capitals in early February after a two-year halt.

There will be two flights per week between Damascus and Baghdad on Sunday and Thursday starting from 2 February, the Syrian regime's transport ministry wrote on its website.

"Baghdad is one of the important destinations for Syrian Air. In light of the increasing demand and the economic feasibility, passenger flights will be operated to Baghdad through Damascus International Airport," Director General of Syrian Air, Obaida Gebrael, said in a statement to the state-run news agency SANA.

Damascus Airport has been targeted in Israeli air raids and forced to shut several times.

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Also on Monday, Iraq and Syria agreed to allow the entry of travellers and goods through the Al-Qaim border crossing.

Freight cars transporting goods through Al-Qaim from Syria will be able to enter Iraq if drivers have a multiple-entry visa, said Suad Al-Amiri, an Iraqi official from the Al-Anbar governorate. Iraqi vehicles will also be able to enter Syria.

While Al-Amiri did not announce when the agreement would come into effect, she said the priority would be for freight cars transporting products such as fruits and vegetables.

Currently, products coming from one country into the other are emptied into another vehicle before crossing the border, which is then transported to their destination.

The two countries share three border crossings.

Both Iraq and Syria have been battered by years of conflict and instability and both are reeling under economic crises.

A violent crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria nearly 12 years ago spiralled into a war that is believed to have killed around half a million people and displaced millions more, mostly from regime air and artillery strikes.

Iraq has also been rattled by decades of strife.

A low-level Islamic State group insurgency continues in both countries.