Bashar al-Assad and Ebrahim RaisiInternationalIndiaAfricaDAMASCUS (Sputnik) – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has arrived in Damascus for two days, making it Iran’s first official state visit since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Wednesday. The president was met at Damascus International Airport by Syrian Economy Minister Mohammed Samer al-Khalil. © SputnikEbrahim Raisi and Bashar al-AssadEbrahim Raisi and Bashar al-AssadRaisi will meet with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, and other high-ranking officials. A number of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during the trip.This year, the world saw a tectonic shift in Middle East politics, with the China-brokered reinvigoration of Iranian-Saudi relations and the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between both nations after years of hostilities. © SputnikEbrahim Raisi and Bashar al-AssadEbrahim Raisi and Bashar al-AssadIran and Syria are close allies despite minor ideological contradictions. Tehran has actively supported Syria’s legitimate leader, Bashar al-Assad, during the country’s civil war with Western-backed jihadists and provided hydrocarbons to Damascus at below market prices.