The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, was invited Sunday to visit Syria to discuss prospects for bilateral cooperation and coordinate joint action toward consolidating security and stability in the region.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, who is visiting Iraq, conveyed the invitation.
Mekdad stressed during his meeting with Sudani in Baghdad the importance of maintaining the unity of the Syrian territories and the interdependence of Iraqi national security with the security of Syria.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister's media office said the talks highlighted the need to promote bilateral relations.
The Foreign Minister expressed Syria's support for Iraq, reiterating its pivotal role in the region and efforts to consolidate the relationship between the Arab brothers and regional countries.
Mekdad indicated that Syria seeks joint action to face common challenges and cooperate in combating terrorism and eliminating the danger of drugs.
The top diplomat affirmed that Syria was looking forward to joint work with Iraq in combating terrorist organizations and their threats to common security with Iraq.
"We will continue to cooperate to combat terrorism and eliminate the danger posed by drugs,” he said.
During his visit to Baghdad, Mekdad also met his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein and discussed the issue of refugees. They also discussed the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
In a joint press conference at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Mekdad said: "We believe in political, military, and economic coordination," stressing the need to end the imbalances that Syria faces amid the presence of terrorist organizations, namely ISIS-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib governorate.
Mekdad also praised Iraq for coming to the aid of Syria following the earthquake and thanked the Iraqi people for helping their "other half" in the country.
Hussein reiterated that Syria's security directly affects Iraq's situation and vice versa.
The Iraqi official indicated that Iraq was among the Arab countries that called for Syria's return to the Arab League.
Drug trafficking issue
Hussein said Syria is going through challenging circumstances and needs action at the regional and international levels, stressing that the Syrian refugees are an integral part of this matter.
"We received about 250,000 refugees," said Hussein, adding that most of them live in camps in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region. He noted the ongoing discussions regarding the Syrian situation.
The Iraqi official explained that the meeting addressed the cooperation to fight cross-border drug trafficking.
Security expert Sarmad al-Bayati believed many security visions for border control were not applicable, noting that Iraq now controls 90 percent of its border.
Bayati told Asharq Al-Awsat that many areas within the Syrian border are not controlled by government forces, noting that the danger increases towards the north, as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) forces control many areas.
He explained that there were imbalances in implementing the visions, explaining that drug trafficking is a complicated issue amid various smuggling outlets across multiple border areas.
Head of the Republican Center for Strategic Studies, Moataz Mohieddin, said Mekdad's visit to Baghdad was important for both countries to limit infiltration of terrorists, noting that the Ministries of Defense and Interior must activate several agreements.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Mohieddin indicated that it was necessary to organize joint forces for the borders between Iraq and Syria, adding that it was crucial to establish electronic fences and control towers to monitor the territories.