Asharq Al-Awsat-Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of Al-Sadr Trend in Iraq, arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus from Tehran yesterday on an unexpected visit lasting several days and started it by meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss the situations in the Iraqi arena and issues of common interest.
A Syrian presidential statement said President Al-Assad asserted during his meeting with Al-Sadr “the importance of strengthening national reconciliation between the Iraqi people’s components and Syria’s desire to back any effort that helps achieve this aim and protects Iraq’s security and stability.” According to the statement, the meeting dealt with the “fraternal and friendly relations and the common interests that bind the two countries and the latest developments in the Iraqi arena” while Al-Sadr expressed his deep appreciation for the “Syria’s stands backing the Iraqi people’s interests and its concern for the unity of Iraq’s territory and people.”
On his part, a leading Al-Sadr Trend official told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Al-Sadr’s visit to Syria is within the framework of strengthening relations with the Iraqi resistance groups since the Trend is one of its important parties.” The leader, who preferred to remain unidentified, said “Al-Sadr is visiting Syria to meet government officials and will discuss the Iraqi situations in the wake of the US withdrawal from the cities” adding that “the withdrawal was sort of media withdrawal because violations happened and US vehicles continue to patrol some Iraqi cities.”
US forces pulled out from inside Iraqi cities on 30 June in implementation of the agreement to withdraw forces concluded by Iraq and Washington. The last American soldier will leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
Asked about the possibility of holding a conference for Al-Sadr Trend in Damascus like the one it held in Turkey before few months, the leader said “there is no intention to hold a conference but the visit is concerned with the Iraqi situations and the honorable resistance of which Al-Sadr Trend is part, especially as the US side knows very well that the resistance action has now become easier since the Americans are present inside certain bases and the process of dealing blows to the occupier becomes easier.” But he added that the “resistance is now leaning toward the political solution and not the military one because action in Iraq at present requires this.” Asked if there is an intention to open Trend offices in Damascus, he said: “We have had offices in Syria since the former regime. There were influential and active persons in them who were removed from Iraq under that regime because of its harassment. They are now working in the martyr’s office and there is development in these offices’ work.”