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  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured), during their meeting in the Russian Foreign Ministry guest house in Moscow, Russia. April 13, 2017.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured), during their meeting in the Russian Foreign Ministry guest house in Moscow, Russia. April 13, 2017. | Photo: EFE/EPA/Sergei Chirikov

Published 16 November 2020
Opinion

Syria's Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Walid al-Muallem has died at the age of 79.

According to the Syrian news agency SANA, Muallem died at dawn on Monday and was laid to rest later on Monday in Damascus.

Although no details were provided for the cause of death, Muallem has been suffering from a heart condition for years.

According to sources close to Damascus's government, Faisal Mekdad is expected to be named Syria's new Foreign Minister.

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The veteran diplomat has held several top diplomatic posts, including ambassador to the United States, and became the nation's foreign minister in 2006 and deputy prime minister in 2012.

In his last public statements, the diplomat denounced the unilateral economic sanctions against Syria imposed by the United States, saying on October 25 that these deadly measures have worsened the country's financial situation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muallem had also recently denounced the West's conditions and flimsy pretexts to halt Syrian refugees' return to their homeland, criticizing Western nations for politicizing the humanitarian issue and their use of the crisis to advance their political interests. Aside from the more 5.6 million Syrians who have been forced to flee into neighboring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq, more than 1 million Syrian children have been born as refugees since the foreign-backed militancy began in their country in 2011. 

Muallem consistently denounced the United States' role in the Syrian conflict, claiming that Washington was "the major player in the war against Syria," supporting terrorism despite claims to be fighting against it. In his annual address to the United Nations in 2019, Muallem stated that "tens of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters have been brought to Syria from more than a hundred countries, with the support and cover of States that are known to all," clearly referencing the United States and Turkey, both of whom maintain an illegal military presence in the north of the country.
Muallem warned early on that Western claims of alleged chemical weapons deployed by the Syrian government served as the pretext to launch military campaigns against the country. The Israeli government and its western and regional allies have been aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
 

Despite these significant setbacks, Syrian government forces have managed to undo militant gains nationwide and successfully brought back almost all of the Syrian soil under control. 

 
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