Italy is renovating its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus in order to reopen it in the near future, the Lebanese al-Nashrah news outlet reported on January 6 citing its correspondent in Syria.
In the last two weeks, many Syrian pro-government sources reported that Italy is preparing to reopen its embassy in Damascus in order to restore a part of Syria’s relations with the European Union, which placed strict sanctions on the country since late 2011.
Italy, which had large investments in Syria, maintained a low level of relations with the country throughout the war unlike other European countries. Furthermore, Rome was not a part of Washington’s failed plans to arm and train Syrian opposition fighters and didn’t participate on the recent strike on the war-torn country.
Last year, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) revealed that Head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, made a secret visit to Italy and met with the country’s interior minister and other senior officials. The visit, which was widely criticized as it violated the European Union sanctions on Syria, was a real breakthrough.
Italy is not the only European country that’s working to restore its relations with Syria. Recent reports claim that the United Kingdom is also planning to reopen its embassy in Damascus this year or the next.
The chances of the UK taking such step are minimal due to its involvement in the Syria war. However, Italy that’s now being led by a government with a strict anti-terrorism policy may indeed dare to challenge the European Union and restore its relations with Syria.