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Sudanese President Is First Arab Leader to Visit Syria in 8 Years

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, left, meets with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir in Damascus, Syria, Dec. 16, 2018.

Sudan's president has become the first Arab leader to visit Damascus since the Syrian civil war began eight years ago.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad greeted Omar al-Bashir at the airport Sunday, the state-run news agency SANA reported.

Most Arab countries have closed their embassies in Damascus and condemned Assad for using overwhelming military force and failing to negotiate with the opposition.

Syria was also expelled from the 22-member Arab League.

No official reason was given for the visit, but SANA said the two leaders held talks at the presidential palace about developments in the region and in Syria.

As the war in Syria winds down in Assad's favor, some Arab nations have called for normalizing ties with Damascus and even of allowing it back in the Arab League.