In an interview last Friday on Britain’s Sky News, Syrian President Bashar Assad invited President Obama to Damascus. No U.S. president has visited Syria in fifteen years.
U.S.-Syrian ties have been damaged due to Damascus’s support for Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. In addition, as Tony Badran notes, Damascus and Tehran enjoy a thirty-year symbiotic relationship, involving military, diplomatic, and economic cooperation.
While Obama has yet to respond to the invitation, he has expressed optimism that Syria may abandon its Iranian partnership in favor of the U.S. As Matthew RJ Brodsky notes, however, trading alliances is not in President Assad’s strategic interest.