Syria and Saudi Arabia Resume Hajj Flights After 12 Years

The first batch of over 200 Syrian Hajj pilgrims has landed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah airport.
syrian hajj 2024 pilgrims in Saudi Arabia
200 Syrian pilgrims arrived at Jeddah’s International Airport. Photo: SPA

Syria and Saudi Arabia have resumed direct flights for Hajj pilgrims. This development follows last year’s restoration of diplomatic ties between the two nations, marking a gradual warming of relations.

Syrian pilgrims at Jeddah international airport immigration section
Syrian pilgrims at Jeddah International Airport immigration section. Photo: SPA

The inaugural flight transported 270 pilgrims from Damascus to Jeddah, with more flights scheduled to follow soon, according to Suleiman Khalil, a transport ministry official. “This decision only applies to the Hajj period. We are studying the reopening of a direct air route,” Khalil clarified.

In a related diplomatic advance, Saudi Arabia has appointed Faisal al-Mujfel as its ambassador to Syria. This marks the first such appointment since the Saudi embassy in Damascus was closed in 2012.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that al-Mujfel aims to “serve the Kingdom’s interests and strengthen the bilateral bonds between the two brotherly nations.”

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia reinstated its embassy in Syria with a charge d’affaires, reciprocating Syria’s reopening of its embassy in Riyadh last year and the appointment of a new ambassador in December.

These diplomatic moves are part of broader reconciliation efforts by Arab states in the region with Syria. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad attended an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia in May 2023, his first in 13 years, signaling a significant step towards reintegrating Syria into the Arab community after years of conflict and isolation.

The resumption of Hajj flights and the diplomatic appointments highlight the ongoing efforts to rebuild and strengthen ties between Syria and Saudi Arabia, fostering a new era of cooperation and mutual support.

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