Published: 15:49, May 29, 2024
Flights resume for Syrian Hajj pilgrims after 13-year hiatus
By Xinhua
Pilgrims are greeted by a Saudi Hajj officer as they arrive at the Hajj terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 20, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

DAMASCUS - The first flight carrying Syrian pilgrims to the Saudi city of Jeddah for the Hajj pilgrimage departed Damascus on Tuesday, marking the resumption of the service after a 13-year suspension, state news agency SANA reported.

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The flight, transporting 270 pilgrims, also signifies the kickoff of Syria's 2024 Hajj season following the restoration of diplomatic ties between Syria and Saudi Arabia in 2023, according to Syrian Director General of Civil Aviation, Bassem Mansour, as quoted in the report.

Muslim pilgrims pray around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on June 25, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

Authorities ensured a smooth and careful travel experience for the pilgrims, most of whom are elderly, from entering Damascus International Airport to boarding and takeoff, Mansour added.

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Earlier this week, the Saudi government appointed its first ambassador to Syria since 2012.

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During the period of severed ties, Syrian pilgrims seeking to perform Hajj were required to obtain visas from neighboring countries.