Syrian Regime Facilitates Travel for Iranian Pilgrims, Offers New Benefits

The Syrian regime recently implemented a policy allowing Iranian pilgrims to pay for their lodging in Syrian pounds instead of dollars. As per the Central Bank, which operates under the regime, Iranian pilgrims arriving through the Iranian Hajj and Visitation Organization can now settle their hotel expenses in Syrian currency.

The Central Bank’s statement specifies that hotels must adhere to the prices listed in the bank’s remittance and exchange bulletin on the date of payment. Additionally, all hotels receiving Iranian visitors are required to submit a monthly statement to the Central Bank branch, outlining their total revenue in accordance with the new regulations. This statement should include the amount due in foreign currency, the applicable exchange rate, as well as the sum paid in Syrian pounds.

In a related development, the Vice President of the Iranian Hajj and Visitation Organization announced the resumption of “visitors’ trips to Syria” in a recent statement. The official highlighted that after consultations, flights to Syria have resumed following a period of interruption. Caspian Airlines will now operate weekly flights transporting visitors to Damascus, with the first flight having already taken place.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, following his visit to Syria at the beginning of the previous month, revealed the signing of several agreements with the Syrian government. These agreements entail special benefits for “Iranian pilgrims.”

It is worth mentioning that each year, numerous Iranians, referred to as “pilgrims,” travel to various holy sites in the Damascus region, including the shrines of Sayyida Zainab and Sayyida Sakina. These trips are facilitated by the Assad regime.

The decision to facilitate travel for Iranian pilgrims and offer them additional privileges underscores the close relationship between Syria and Iran. Throughout the civil war in Syria, Iran has stood as a crucial ally to the Syrian government, with both countries sharing a vested interest in maintaining the Assad regime’s power.

Furthermore, this decision serves as an attempt by the Syrian government to revitalize its economy. The tourism sector has suffered greatly due to the effects of the civil war, and officials hope that this policy change will attract more Iranian tourists to Syria.

Nevertheless, the decision has faced criticism from some Syrians. Detractors argue that the move is a misallocation of resources, primarily benefiting the Iranian regime. Additionally, they claim that the decision serves as a means for the Syrian government to propagate its Shiite ideology.


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